A total of 17 states were granted a yearlong extension from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to comply with REAL ID laws.
The REAL ID Act was established by federal agencies in order to help minimize security standards for license issuance and production. This act prohibits federal organizations from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards that do not meet certain requirements.
According to the REAL ID website, states including Washington, Oregon, and South Carolina have been granted an extension from now through October 10, 2018 to become compliant.
When announcing the extension, Christine Anthony, a spokeswoman for the Washington Department of Licensing, said “[it] gives our customers more time to decide if they will need a new type of identification that is acceptable for federal purposes.”
The new federal law requires all state driver’s licenses and ID cards to have specific security enhancements that will help identify whether a person is legally residing in the United States.
After 10 years of the state’s refusal to comply, the governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, signed a law in April allowing state residents to obtain REAL ID Act-compliant driver licenses.
“While this agency fully anticipated this extension, and saw no barrier to receiving it, we’re pleased that DHS did the right thing for the people of the state,” Kevin Shwedo, South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles executive director, stated. “South Carolinians can rest assured knowing their state-issued licenses and IDs are still accepted for federal activities that will eventually require a REAL ID.”
Meanwhile, in Minnesota, lawmakers finally reached a deal with federal agencies last May to help make the state REAL ID-compliant. After two years of fighting for the state’s rights, privacy and driver’s licenses for undocumented workers, the state has received the same extension as the other 16 states.
“The Department of Homeland Security did the right thing in granting this extension so that Minnesotans can continue to use their current driver’s licenses to travel, enter federal buildings, and access military bases,” Senator Amy Klobuchar said. “That’s why I called for this extension – with our Minnesota delegation – and I will continue to work with DHS as Minnesota implements REAL ID standards.”
If these states do not receive an additional extension, travelers with state identifying credentials that are not REAL ID-compliant will be required to have an alternative form of ID in order to travel domestically starting January 22, 2019. Drivers licenses and identification cards will also need to be REAL ID-compliant by the same date in order for their holders to gain access to federal facilities or military bases.
Montana state officials plan to have REAL ID-compliant credentials available to residents by January 2019. However, state residents will not be forced to obtain updated credentials unless they plan on traveling.
Additionally, the MT Motor Vehicles Division has also announced its plan to receive another extension, which will give its residents additional time to reach full compliance.