DHS warns on 12-month REAL ID deadline

01/10/20

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is reminding Americans that only 12 months remain until the October 1, 2021 REAL ID enforcement goes into effect.

On October 1, 2021, individuals seeking to enter federal facilities, nuclear power plants, or commercial airplanes at federally regulated airports will be required to have a REAL ID compliant license or acceptable alternative identification, such as a U.S. passport or passport card, to gain entry. DHS continues to urge Americans to obtain a REAL ID-compliant card or acceptable alternative well before this deadline.

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S Virgin Islands, and Guam are fully compliant and are issuing these cards. To date, the states and territories have issued approximately 110 million REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards, representing 40 percent of all driver’s licenses and identification card holders. 

Having improved credentials is critical to the security of our homeland as evidenced by the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, which discovered that terrorists easily procured driver’s licenses. The nineteen terrorists who attacked our country on 9/11 acquired more than 30 driver’s licenses and identification cards, which helped the terrorists conduct critical aspects of their plot, such as renting cars and boarding flights. Passed by Congress in 2005 following a 9/11 Commission recommendation, the REAL ID Act and regulations establish minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies, like the Transportation Security Administration, from accepting licenses and identification cards for official purposes from states that do not meet these anti-counterfeiting and anti-fraud standards after specific deadlines.

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