December 21, 2012 -
The Department of Homeland Security has announced that 13 states will have met the January 15, 2013 REAL ID deadline, and enforcement of the rule for non-compliant states will be final in 2015.
The REAL ID Act was passed in 2005 and is intended to make identification and travel documents harder to obtain for terrorists. An early benchmark of this act was to mandate that states develop REAL ID-compliant drivers licenses by January 15, 2013. These new drivers licenses can be used by American citizens to board planes or interact with any federal agency. Without compliant drivers licenses past the deadline, citizens will have to use Passports or any other federally-issued identity document, the department warns.
According to the Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License, REAL ID-compliant drivers licenses will not include biometrics, though there seems to be some confusion around this topic. According to a report from 1787 Radio Network last year, the Pinella County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that images taken for REAL ID drivers licenses are now a part of a law enforcement facial recognition system.
Also according to the Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License, the minimum document requirements for compliant driver’s licenses are: the person’s full legal name, date of birth, gender, drivers license or ID card number, a digital photograph, address or principle residence, signature, physical security features and a common machine-readable technology.
“The Department of Homeland Security today made their enforcement plan public. The thirteen states who have taken the necessary steps to meet the extensive driver’s livense security requirements are vindicated in their prudent and timely efforts, coalition president Brian Zimmer said. “The other states get a reprieve from strict enforcement that many thought would begin next month on January 15th.”
Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming have all met the act’s requirements.