A new form of ID will take effect next year.
By Meg Taylor, News Editor
As of next year, Americans will need a new form of identification to travel throughout the United States.
The REAL ID act, passed by Congress in 2005, enacted the 9/11 Commission's recommendation that the federal government ‘set standards for the issuance of sources of identification.’
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), “The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards.”
In July 2017, former Homeland Security director John Kelly announced a 2020 deadline for compliance.
“It is a critically important 9/11 Commission recommendation that others have been willing to ignore,” Kelly rebuked, “but I will not.”
Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security requires driver license or identification cards to be REAL ID compliant if citizens wish to use them as identification to board a domestic flight or enter military bases and most federal facilities; it is also required when purchasing a firearm and/or ammunition.
Citizens do not need a REAL ID when applying for or receiving federal benefits, entering a post office or other federal facilities that do not require identification, visiting a hospital or receiving life-saving services, or to ride Amtrak or other public ground transportation. In terms of flying, a passport can be used in place of the REAL ID. The application for a REAL ID is similar to that of the current drivers license requirements: must provide proof of identity, proof of social security number and proof of California residency.
“Real IDs carry the same information as your old driver’s license, along with a variety of safeguards to make them more difficult to counterfeit. To receive one, however, you must meet a new federal standard proving you are who you say you are and you live where you say you do,” stated a 2018 LA Times article.
The application can be filled out ahead of time by visiting eDLapp.dmv.ca.gov. Appointments are required to obtain a REAL ID; people cannot renew their license by mail and simply “upgrade” to the new license. However, once you have a REAL ID card, you may be eligible to renew by mail or online in the future.
With the DMV notoriously being known for long lines and wait times, even with an appointment, many are annoyed that they are now burdened with an extra trip. Another controversy circling around involves the motives behind the government implementing this law almost 15 years after it was passed.
“I think they are using 9/11 as an excuse,” said Valley College student Isaac Arredondo. “I think that the political climate that we’re in at the moment is the reason they are using this as a way to really verify people are who they say they are. But it's just more of keeping people who they want in and having the ones who want to come in, keep them out."