The Department of Homeland Security recently informed 18 states that their extension to comply with the federal REAL ID Act, a 2005 anti-terrorism law, is currently under review.
DHS granted the states, and Puerto Rico a “grace period” until Jan. 10, 2016 and all 18 of those states and territories could be subject to enforcement by then, the agency said.
The REAL ID Act is an antiterrorism law with the goal of improving the security of state issued identification, such as driver’s licenses and identification cards. REAL ID prohibits federal agencies from accepting a driver’s license that does not meet the standards set by DHS. The REAL ID standards are based on best practices designed to reduce identity theft and fraud.
The REAL ID Act allows DHS to grant extensions to states to implement the REAL ID standards. States may receive an extension if that state can demonstrate progress in implementing the standards and a realistic timeline for completion. Several of those states including Illinois, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Washington, are currently considering proposals in their respective legislatures to bring the state up to compliance with the REAL ID Act.
On October 14, DHS released via its website an update regarding which states are currently compliant, not compliant, or have been granted an extension. 18 of the states with extensions are now under review and include: Alaska, California, Guam, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, N. Marianas, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Virgin Islands, and Washington.
“DHS has shown a great deal of flexibility in granting the states extensions to comply with the REAL ID Act,” said Brian Zimmer, president of Keeping IDentities Safe. “States that have balked now face a very real ticking clock that will require some hard conversations with their DMVs. The grace period allows the states to make the choice: implement the standards or face enforcement for failing to comply with a decade-old law.”