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DC DMV reverses stance on Real ID credentials! Maybe?

by Prince Of Petworth April 24, 2014 at 10:52 am 50 Comments


Thanks to Eckington Chick for letting us know in this morning’s rant/revel:

“Rave: The DC DMV reversing its stance on the Real ID. We don’t have to get our licenses changed until they expire. Yeah!! See item #6 on their page:

When will the District of Columbia begin issuing REAL ID credentials?

May 1, 2014. However, this date only impacts those residents obtaining a DC license for the first time, renewing their licenses or who need to replace their license due to it being lost, stolen or an address change. Your existing DC DMV credential will remain valid until its expiration date and will be accepted for federal purposes (such as entering federal buildings and boarding airplanes).”

UPDATE: From Council Member at Large David Grosso’s office:

Just got off phone w @dcdmv and now have clarification. tl:dr = no one needs to renew unless DL expires

Those deadlines are for DC DMV to be compliant with REAL ID. They do not affect individuals’ DL/IDs

If my DL expires in 2018, it’s OK b/c feds have already certified DC’s process for complying w REAL ID.”

  • LOL, fail.

    • dcreal

      Justin- I got clearance to paint the pipes in front. I just can’t do the meter which is fine with me.

  • domrep

    I’m fine with the idea, but I think someone figured out that having 600,000 people change their ID’s within a span of a year wasn’t the best idea in the world. That’s on average 50K per month, they probably had no way to deal with the traffic.

  • Anon

    Since this is largely out of DC’s hands, did the DMV just drastically misunderstand the federal government’s position, or did the feds change their minds?

    • Anony

      Yeah I am confused too, this is federal legislation and not something DC has an option with…

    • Anon

      And reading the FAQ further, it still appears that you’ll need a REAL ID-compliant license to enter a federal building that requires ID (in January 2015) or board an airplane (some time in 2016 and you’ll still be able to present a backup ID). So exactly what has changed?

      • +1 i also don’t understand what exactly DMV changed, since it’s not their rules, but federal requirements.

    • Anonymous

      10 bucks says that people with the old licenses are going to be turned away by the TSA in 2016.

      Really, how hard is this to explain? For people who don’t need to go to federal buildings or fly, they can wait until their current licenses expire. Otherwise, maybe tell people who don’t have an alternate compliant ID (i.e., passport or CAC) that they better get their butts to teh dmv!!!

      • Anon

        You don’t actually need an ID to fly. TSA just sends you through additional screening.

        • Anonymous

          Technically that might be true, but you’re buying yourself more headaches than one trip to the DMV would cause.

          • LJ

            Have you ever been to a DMV? I’d take 10 extra screening processes at an airport over the typical painful DMV wait.

          • ah

            But I fly more than 10 times every 8 years.

          • Panon

            The screenings are actually quite fun. I enjoy finding out how much of my personal information the government knows. They keep surprising me.

        • Anon

          @Panon, I found out enough during my Global Entry interview. It was interesting for sure. But then again the idea of spending 1 second more in the TSA screening area than I have to (instead of having a drink somewhere post-security) is so repugnant to me that I’d carry 8 forms of ID if that’s what they wanted.

      • ah

        I’ll take that bet . . . I think the current TSA deadline gets pushed back at least a couple of years if not longer because this is a problem in multiple states.

  • AG

    Yay! I love my current license picture and was dreading having to take a new one.

  • Anonymous

    I guess it eventually dawned on someone at the DMV that they are far, far short of the resources that would be necessary for such a deluge of in-person renewals.

    • Anon

      That’s probably true, but my license doesn’t expire until 2018. Unless the feds change the implementation schedule again (which I admit is likely), I’ll still need to replace my license well before it expires. Early 2015 according to the feds’ timetable.

  • DcDude

    They aren’t reversing anything, they have simply explained it better. The licenses where going to be valid for driving in DC as long as they were unexpired. The REAL ID compliance was only related to federally linked ID purposes, i.e. flying.

    • Eckington Chick

      Actually, they are reversing their stance. They initially stated that licenses wouldn’t be acceptable for federal buildings and air travel but now they state they are. Ultimately what happened was that the DC government didn’t read the DHS briefings on the Real ID closely enough.

    • Anonymous

      So is this comment in the post false then…. (sorry, its all very confusing)

      “Your existing DC DMV credential will remain valid until its expiration date and will be accepted for federal purposes (such as entering federal buildings and boarding airplanes).””

    • Anonymous

      No, sounds like you’ve just understood it worse. Read the post above, it says “Your existing DC DMV credential will remain valid until its expiration date and will be accepted for federal purposes (such as entering federal buildings and boarding airplanes)” which is different from what they said before (and different from what you just said.) I don’t know who’s right or what changed, but this is different from what they said before.

      • ah

        You’re right it’s different. And probably wrong.

        Having created a firestorm, they are now seeking to explain that probably a lot of people don’t need to go through the hassle until they renew.

        You can keep using your current DL to drive, vote, get into DC buildings, use as an ID many places, and get into a lot of federal buildings.

        You probably cannot use your current (non REAL) ID to get into certain federal buildings in 2015 and after, or get through a TSA checkpoint in 2016 or whenever that is implemented.

        For probably a decent portion of DC residents, getting on an airplane is an infrequent occurrence, and going into a federal building with heightened requirements (nuclear power plant?) even more rare.

  • Anonymous

    According to DHS, on Oct 20, Federal buildings can (not must) refuse entry for individuals without a REAL ID, and sometime in “late 2016” (helpful) TSA will require REAL ID to board a plane. Now the DC DMV says that’s not true?

    These agencies need to figure this out.

    • Eckington Chick

      Ok, the deal is this. DC is not listed as a “non compliant” jurisdiction by the DHS which means that the IDs are fine as long as DC continues to receive extensions.
      Secondly, people are misreading the whole thing about air travel. What the DHS says is that they won’t enforce the Real ID for air travel “sooner than 2016.” That does not mean that by the end of the 2016 they will enforce it, it merely means that nothing will happen before 2016.
      Third, anyone with a TSA Trusted Traveler card (Global Entry, Nexus etc) doesn’t have to worry about it anyway since that card serves as a Real ID for the purposes of air travel.

      • Anonymous

        Unfortunately, nothing in your post clears up the confusion. There is no indication that DC has received, or will receive future exemptions. For now, we have a looming Oct 20 deadline for entry into federal buildings, and no other definitive information to go on. And “no sooner than 2016” could just as easily mean Jan 1, 2016 as it could mean some later date. You’re assuming that it will be later, but you have no information to back up that claim. Finally, that’s great for Trusted Travelers, but that ain’t me, nor is it 90+ percent of DC residents. The rollout of information on this transfer to REAL ID has been pretty terrible.

        • Anonymous

          not to mention that most people (myself included) who travel domestically with a Precheck/Trusted Traveler status, dont carry the card. You generally dont need it.

          • Anon

            In fact, I was told NOT to carry it by the customs officer who interviewed me. It’s one more thing that can get lost/stolen and used for identify fraud. Your Pre-Check status will show up on your boarding pass as long as you’ve put your trusted traveler number in the airline’s system. And for international air travel you need your passport for reentry anyway. The card is useful for land access from Canada or Mexico, but that’s about it.

          • ah

            I’d start carrying it if my DC DL isn’t accepted.

        • Eckington Chick

          I’m not sure how anything in my post could be construed as an assumption that it will be later than 2016. I merely said that nothing will happen before 2016 which means it could happen in 2016 or later. I’d like you to back up your claim that what I said implies it will happen after 2016.
          Second, I mentioned the TSA Trusted Traveler program since the people most affected by the air travel component are those that fly often and they also the same people who are likely to have a card from the program. In other words I wanted to alert the most likely people who thought they might be affected that they needn’t worry.
          Third, the entry into federal buildings component should be clarified. It doesn’t mean entry into all federal buildings, merely access to “semi-restricted” areas.

          • Anon

            But “semi-restricted” means “areas available to the general public but subject to ID-based access control.” In other words, just about every federal office building in DC (and yeah, I read the DMV’s assertion at the bottom of that page that many federal buildings in DC have eliminated the requirement to show ID, but in my experience that’s BS)

          • Anonymous

            You’re correct, you did not assert a date certain by which TSA will require REAL ID. However, your assertion that “people are misreading the whole thing about air travel” is misguided. This thread links to a statement by the DC DMV that states “Your existing DC DMV credential will remain valid until its expiration date and will be accepted for … boarding airplanes.” My current license is valid until late in 2017. So … is the DMV correct, and I can use it until it expires? Or is DHS correct and, at some randomly assigned date in 2016, I will need REAL ID? The only misreading of the whole air travel thing has been by either DMV or DHS. The public is rightly confused because there is contradictory information being released. And the TSA TT program is great for the 5% or less of fliers that have it, but means little the rest of us.

    • Anonymous

      Typical idiotic bureaucracy.

  • dc_mike

    So are we no longer being given the change to update for free when notified? Since my liscence doesn’t expire until 2020 I’d rather just get it done (for free) and avoid any potential hassle.

    • textdoc

      Yeah, I too am wondering whether the “upgrade for free” option has disappeared.

  • Anonymous

    They should have just allowed everyone to ride out their current IDs until they expire or lose them. The roll out would be done over multiple year.s. Why they didn’t do this from the beginning just boggles my mind. It’s so much easier to implement.

    • GM

      Well, that’s up to DHS, not DC. I agree that DHS should have found out what the furthest expiration date for drivers licenses was and made that the switchover date. So if (making up numbers here) Arkansas has 8-year licenses, then DHS should have had an 8-year window from the start of the REAL ID program and the point where they become mandatory. But it sounds like DHS was impatient and wanted to accelerate things by a lot.

      • Anonymous

        Won’t work because of Arizona. Those are good for something like 50 years after the date of issue.

        • Anonymous

          I swear, overabundance of sun just makes certain states more collectively dumb.
          Why would the government want someone carrying around an ID with a 40+ year old photo? It makes no sense.

          • JL

            My current DC ID was issued in 2013 and is good through 2021. It has a photo that was taken in 2008 (I renewed through mail in 2013). So by the time this one expires, it’ll have a 13-year-old photo.

            It’s not 40 years, but it strikes me as a long time.

          • JL

            Because I was curious, I just looked it up – while Arizona licenses don’t technically “expire” until the driver turns 65 (regardless of when the license is obtained), drivers are required to get a new photo every 12 years. So the 40-year-old photo scenario is unlikely to happen.

    • ah

      Or, better, DC should have gotten on the stick sooner so that by the time REAL ID was needed everyone would have one.

  • The terrorists have won.

  • blah

    LOL–just had to renew my license TODAY. Thank god I don’t have to go back and get a new one…at least until 2016, maybe?

  • Anonymous

    The real issue is that, at least by my reading of the rules, the proof of ID that one has to present in order to get a REAL ID is identical to what one had to present to get the “old” drivers license. If that is the case, then why not just issue these IDs through the mail like they have done in the past for license renewals; as opposed to making people go down to DMV all over again.

    • Anon

      I think it’s a backup documentation reboot. Presumably (and I’m being generous to the architects of this fiasco), they’ve been training DMV workers to better scrutinize backup documents with an eye toward combating identity fraud so before they bestow upon you this magic license they want everyone to start at the beginning.
      Of course, I could just be assuming a rational motive where there is none.

  • Miss Lu Lu Hogg

    I’m so confused about all the rumors in regards to the Real ID Act. I wish DMV make up their mind soon on this issue because this is a federal law. I plan a vacation to Europe at the end of the year and I don’t want any problems at the airports.

    • Anonymous

      It’s not clear to me that it’s the DMV that is causing the confusion. In any case you can relax, because if you’re traveling to Europe you need a passport so your driver’s license has nothing to do with it.

    • kd21

      The Real ID requirement for boarding commercial airplanes wouldn’t be until 2016 at the earliest. Regardless of what has or hasn’t changed, you aren’t affected.

      If you’re travelling to Europe, you need to use your passport anyway.


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