DHS Releases REAL ID Regulation

On January 11, 2008, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a final rule establishing minimum security standards for state-issued drivers’ licenses and identification cards to prevent terrorism and identity theft. Identity theft has increased by nearly 800 percent from 2000 to 2006, according to the Federal Trade Commission. REAL ID will give law enforcement and security officials a powerful advantage against falsified documents theft by a criminal or illegal alien. 

REAL ID will address document fraud by setting specific requirements that states must adopt for compliance, to include: (1) information and security features that must be incorporated into each card; (2) proof of the identity and U.S. citizenship or legal status of an applicant; (3) verification of the source documents provided by an applicant; and (4) security standards for the offices that issue licenses and identification cards. 

The first deadline for compliance with REAL ID for states to ensure that illegal aliens cannot obtain REAL ID is Dec. 31, 2009. Enrollment will be completed for all individuals under 50 years of age by Dec. 1, 2014. For all others, enrollment may be extended three additional years to Dec. 1, 2017. At that time, all state-issued drivers’ licenses and identification cards intended for official federal purposes which to access into a federal facility, boarding commercial aircraft, and entering nuclear power plants must be REAL ID compliant. 

For more information, this final rule is available at www.dhs.gov.