What is real and what is not about REAL IDs?
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Posted by: Trichina Pierce, CCUL Compliance
As soon as gift giving ends, I reach for the nightstand and my blue binder of stashed notes, mail and reminders, ready to begin organizing for the new year. As a military wife and mother, It feels good to set up my schedule and family calendar for events I can control.
My twins will be thirteen years old this year, making them eligible to get a military ID card. As I researched that procedure, I came across an informational ad about “Real ID” and discovered that I will need to update my own state identification if I want to take a flight, enter secure federal buildings, or visit military installations in 2020. Taking the proactive approach, I started to gather all the documents needed for REAL ID, and looked at my calendar for a likely date to get to the DMV early.
What I expected to be one day of organizing became three days with this project, but I now have some valuable information to share.
What I learned about Real ID:
- The U.S. Congress passed the REAL ID Act of 2005 as a result of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation to standardize government-issued identifications like driver’s licenses.
- This is a federal law that affects federal agencies, federal buildings, and military bases. Standards for licenses and ID cards that comply with the REAL ID Act were established by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). See DHS FAQ on Real ID »
- On October 1, 2020 the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will begin enforcing REAL ID requirements at airport security checkpoints. If you plan to fly or visit a federal building, you must have a REAL ID license, ID, or another type of federally approved identification, such as a valid U.S. passport or military ID.
- A REAL ID license is valid for no more than eight years.
- REAL ID does not create a federal database of driver license information. Each jurisdiction continues to issue its own unique license, maintains its own records, and controls who gets access to those records and under what circumstances. The purpose of REAL ID is to make our identity documents more consistent and secure.
- Real ID does not apply to voting/registering to vote, applying for federal benefits, being licensed by a state to drive, accessing health or lifesaving services, or entering a federal facility that does not require a person to present identification.
- If you do not expect to fly or visit a federal building, you do not need a REAL ID.
- REAL ID implementation deadline extended in SC: The DHS has approved South Carolina's request for an implementation extension to become REAL ID compliant. This extension means the state's current, unexpired SC driver's licenses or identification cards will be accepted through October 10, 2018 as your identification to board domestic flights, enter secure federal buildings, and visit military installations.
- REAL ID implementation underway in NC: While the SCDMV and State of South Carolina anticipate being fully compliant and issuing REAL IDs by First Quarter 2018, the NCDMV already is issuing the REAL ID.
- REAL ID design features may differ per state: REAL IDs will have special identification features to assist in identifying the license’s validity. This special feature may differ by state. For example, the North Carolina Real ID has a gold star at the top right.
- Remember, there is no requirement to change to a REAL ID license and ID card as they are not mandatory (see item #7 above).
I hope you find this information as valuable as I did, and I suggest checking out the following websites to learn more about REAL ID and related laws that may impact you.
SC: SC Dept. of Motor Vehicles - REAL ID
NC: NC Dept. of Motor Vehicles - REAL ID
Lastly, the Carolinas Credit Union League Compliance Department will have representatives from each state DMV at the 2018 BSA/AML Conference to answer any REAL ID questions you may have as your credit union sees more of these IDs in the near future.
Disclaimer: Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and should not be taken as legal advice, nor does this article entitle the reader to any services. The information contained herein is merely to provide League members with useful compliance information and serve as a reference for your own research. Although care has been taken to provide accurate information, the League is not engaged in rendering legal or tax advice. Credit unions are encouraged to seek appropriate qualified legal counsel for legal advice.