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Homeland Security cracks down on state driver’s licenses for REAL ID Act

Homeland Security cracks down on state driver’s licenses for REAL ID Act

An MP checks a driver’s license at a checkpoint at Fort Mead, Maryland. Licenses from a handful of states will no longer be accepted as official forms of identification for gaining access to military bases starting Jan. 30. (Photo courtesy U.S. Navy)

By Sharon Stockard

You know the routine: Guests at military installations arrive at a main gate and show their driver’s license to be screened for entry. However, some guests may not make it any farther than the gate as driver’s licenses from a handful of states will no longer be accepted as official forms of identification for gaining access to military bases starting Jan. 30, U.S. officials say.

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a list of acceptable forms of identification for states whose driver’s licenses do not comply with the 2005 Real ID Act, which sets official standards for gaining access to U.S. military installations. Additional forms of acceptable identification include U.S. passports, Veterans Health ID cards and Native American tribal ID cards.

Individuals holding noncompliant driver’s licenses from Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana and Washington state will no longer being able to enter federal facilities using their state IDs as their primary form of identification, Department of Defense officials confirmed.

Those state IDs do not comply with official standards under the Real ID Act, which requires states to meet minimum security requirements for state-issued ID cards such as driver’s licenses, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The law, passed by Congress in 2005, is designed to strengthen national security.

Some noncompliant states, including Alaska, California, Texas and New York, have received deadline extensions from the Department of Homeland Security.

Homeland Security is permitting installation commanders to develop their own lists of supplemental forms of ID.

For example, officials at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, plan to accept birth certificates, utility bills and vehicle registrations as supporting ID documents, while officials at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, accept Social Security cards but not utility bills or vehicle registrations.

In Alaska, the governor has introduced legislation that would bring the state in compliance with the Real ID Act. The Alaska Legislature passed a law in 2008 forbidding state funds to go toward implementing the federal law.

If the governor’s bill fails to pass, thousands of Alaskans who work in federal facilities and on military bases will lose access to federal facilities starting in January 2018. Travelers would also be restricted from going through airport security without a passport or other federally issued identification. Similar scenarios could be seen in states that don’t comply with the act.

Do you live in a state that is noncompliant with the Real ID act? What supplemental forms of ID are accepted at your installation? Find out the status of any state’s ID at www.dhs.gov/current-status-states-territories.

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