All States Are Now REAL ID Compliant, But The REAL ID Nightmare Is Only Half Over

by SharonKurheg

After the horrific events of 9/11, the topic of REAL ID came into being in 2005, when Congress said states needed to modify their driver’s licenses and official State IDs as part of the fight against terrorism.

After 15 years of planning, and what will ultimately be a (so far) 6-year delay, the Department of Homeland Security is probably letting out a sigh of relief that all 50 states are finally issuing REAL ID state IDs (Oklahoma was the last holdout). With the latest delay in implementation due to COVID-19 (back in late March, the deadline was switched from Oct 1, 2020 to Oct. 1, 2021), all the states are even finished over a year ahead of time (instead of 3 weeks early).

Unfortunately, getting all the states to be compliant in issues REAL ID drivers licenses is only part of the battle.

Next up? Ensuring that all citizens who plan to fly have I.D. cards that are REAL ID compliant.

Since some U.S. states and territories began their REAL ID programs years ago, about 105 million REAL-ID driver’s licenses and identification cards have been issued. Unfortunately, that only represents about 38% of people who have a U.S. driver’s license or identification card. And that’s a problem. Normally U.S. citizens get a new driver’s license every  4 to 12 years, depending on what state you live in. But if you don’t have REAL ID by October 1, 2021 and plan to fly, you need to get a new driver’s license that’s REAL ID compliant, whether your current license is ready to expire or not. Either that, or make sure you have one of the other types of I.D. that are allowable.

Most states allow online or snail-mailed applications, but not all do. Nor do all people know that, come October next year, the driver’s license that’s been working fine as ID for the past, say, 11 years (Arizona’s driver’s licenses are good for 12 years), suddenly won’t be. So the next step is to make all these millions upon millions of would-be flyers aware of what’s coming down the pike and what they need to do.

Before COVID, the TSA was already trying to avoid what was sure to be an ID-related meltdown in October by putting certain measures into place. I’m sure they’ll be working on that again, as October 1, 2021 looms closer.

But still…can you believe that all 50 states are finally REAL ID compliant?

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary



Arlington Traveler September 14, 2020 - 6:35 pm

Not worried about people who don’t get RealID’s so much. Some will have USA or foreign passports and other’s will have military or federal employee IDs which will continue to be accepted. Airlines will let folks know about the requirement when you buy a ticket and if someone checks in online. TSA signs only really impact those who travel often, so really the airlines need to carry the freight on this. Also folks, without a REAL ID will not be able to get into a federal building or military base. A lot of folks dont’ enter military bases or federal buildings and have a passport so they are fine with a non compliant license.

SharonKurheg September 14, 2020 - 6:50 pm

I think you’re giving John. Q. Public way too much credit. People don’t read. What they do read, they don’t remember. The problem isn’t the frequent flyers; it’s the millions of people who don’t have passports, who only fly once a year or less, who don’t ever go into Federal buildings or onto military bases. This is all going to hit them like a ton of bricks and the last thing you want is hundreds of people per day at the airport “not knowing” (even though they were told a bajillion times, in as many ways) that their AZ DL from 2005 won’t work.

The link towards the bottom of my post is about what they were doing to prepared John Q. Public for what would have been 10/1/20 and is now 10/1/21.

Gary Leff September 14, 2020 - 6:51 pm

DHS has *deemed* states to be in compliance, but in doing so they’re ignoring data sharing requirements of the act. States are not actually in compliance.

derek September 14, 2020 - 10:04 pm

Not only that but a few states cheated and didn’t comply but were deemed compliant. Washington and Montana are among a few states that they rip off poor people by continuing to have non-Real ID compliant driver’s licenses. In Washington state, you have to pay more for an enhanced ID and only that is Real ID compliant. Montana’s Real ID cost $25 more.

Washington state did so because they want to help illegal aliens even if it harms citizens who are poor.

In contrast, Nevada and New York have both Real ID and non-Real ID but both cost the same.

SharonKurheg September 14, 2020 - 11:54 pm

* unauthorized immigrants


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