Tuesday, January 1, 2019

State Driver’s License Becomes National Real I.D. Card


Texas residents are receiving letters from the department of public safety warning that their driver’s licenses are about to expire, even though their licenses are still valid for more than a year or two. But, there is an explanation.

Texas DPS is in the process of implementing the Federal REAL ID ACT, which will require many Texas to get an updated driver’s license or ID card to board air planes for domestic travel, and go into federal buildings to ask in person for help at their local Social Security office, or any other federal services office.  While the REAL ID Act deadline is October 2020, Texas DPS officials do not want Texans to wait until the last minute to be in compliance with the federal law.

Driver’s licenses issued by states not compliant with Real ID, which do not have a white star in a gold circle on the upper right corner of the card, will soon not be accepted for people boarding domestic commercial flights, or to get past the front door of  any federal facility.

Note that you MUST renew in person if:
On May 11, 2005, President Bush signed into law the Emergency Supplemental Appropriation for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005 (H.R. 1268, P.L. 109-13), which included the “Real ID Act of 2005.” The original Real ID Act was attached by the House Republican leadership as a rider to HR 1268, a 2005 bill dealing with emergency appropriations for the Iraq War and with the tsunami relief funding.
The Real ID Act rider was attached to the main bill without debate by any committee or on the House floor. The Senate also did not specifically discussed or vote on the Real ID Act. No Senate committee hearings were conducted on the Real ID Act prior to its passage. Critics charged this procedure was undemocratic and that the bill's proponents avoided a substantive debate on a far-reaching piece of legislation by attaching it to a "must-pass" war funding bill.
The Real ID Act of 2005 mandates that all fifty states must follow specific security, authentication, and issuance regulations, administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in issuing driver's license and personal identification cards. Title II of the Real ID Act provides that state-issued driver's licenses and identity documents will not be accepted by the federal government for "official purposes" unless they meet certain conditions, including:
  1. Connectivity to a 50-state, interlinked database making driver's personal information available to the federal government, U.S. territories and every DMV office in the country.
  2. Standardized data elements and security features on driver's licenses. At a minimum, all licenses would contain the carrier's full legal name, birth date, gender, driver's license number, photograph, principle address and signature.
  3. Presence of a "machine-readable zone" on the license to allow for the easy capture of information contained on a license.
  4. Proof of a driver license applicant's full legal name, date of birth, Social Security Number, principal address and lawful status in the United States.
  5. State verification of every document presented at motor vehicles agencies as part of an application for a Real ID card.
To be compliant with the Real ID federal law, a state must require applicants for first time driver's license or ID card issuance, and renewal of driver's license and ID issuance for those issued before the state implemented Real ID procedures, to prove five items of fact (full legal name, birth date, citizenship or immigration status, social security number, and proof of permanent residence address of at least 30 days) in person at their state driver's license office. Title II of the Real ID law lists these documents as satisfying the items of fact requirements:
  • State certified original or copy of a birth certificate (not just a hospital issued birth record), or
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or
  • Certificate of Naturalization issued by DHS, or
  • Certificate of Citizenship, or
  • US Passport
and
  • Social Security Card or other proof of social security number and
  • Two documents that show a principal residence address, such as a bank statement and a utility bill.
For cases where person's current name and the name on the primary identity document(s) are different, first time and renewing applicants must also present:
  • Court ordered name change document, and/or
  • Certified original or copy of all marriage certificates, issued by the courts, and/or
  • Certified original or copy of all divorce decrees, issued by the courts.
In all cases, ID applicants must show a clear trail of name changes originating with the birth name to the current name. This requirement places a disproportionate burden on women who commonly take the last name of their husbands at the time of their marriage, and therefore must show their certified marriage certificate along with the other required ID. Women who have been married more than once must produce all marriage certificates and all divorce decrees.

To obtain a state certified copy of a birth certificate most state vital records departments require the person requesting their birth certificate to show identification like a driver's license or personal ID card. The catch-22 of this is that people who do not hold a driver's license or personal ID card can't obtain a copy of their state certified birth certificate -- so they can't obtain a driver's license, personal ID card or election identification certificate.
Under the Real ID Act personal information on Americans, including digital copies of their Social Security cards, birth certificates, bank statements and other personal documents, is amassed into a single national database network. The information stored in the database network is only as secure as the State DMV office with the weakest security or least trustworthy staff in the nation. A single breach in the system could compromise the personal information and documents of 250 million Americans. Armed with this national information identity thieves or a foreign government could wreak havoc on 250 million Americans.

Thirty-seven states, plus the District of Columbia, are in compliance, according to the Department of Homeland Security. As of October 10, 2018, 37 states, territories, and the District of Columbia have been determined by DHS as compliant with all REAL ID requirements. The other 19 jurisdictions are noncompliant, but have been granted a temporary extension from enforcement. Extensions are granted at the discretion of Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen who is committed to enforcing the REAL ID law and regulation according to the planned enforcement schedule. For this extension cycle, DHS has issued limited compliance extensions for only the amount of time that states or territories need to both begin issuing REAL IDs and to complete the DHS compliance review.

All 245 million driver's license and identification card holders in the U.S. will be required to make an in-person visit to their state driver's license office in order to obtain a Real-ID compliant license by October 1, 2020. On December 29, 2014 DHS announced that residents who currently use a non-compliant license or identification card issued from a state who is now in compliance with REAL ID requirements will have until October 1, 2020 before they must present their five items of identity fact at their state driver's license office. The previous deadline was December 1, 2014 for those born after 1964 and December 1, 2017 for those born before.

Homeless veterans, battered women seeking safety, people thrown out of their homes by bank foreclosure, and others who have unexpectedly fallen on hard times and are temporarily living with relatives or in shelters or out of the trunk of their car (if they are lucky enough to still have a car) will have difficulty obtaining and renewing a Real ID driver's license because of that law's "documented proof of permanent residency" requirement.


You'll find links to several helpful websites explaining the REAL ID Act the following Related Links: