In 2005, as a response to the 9/11 attacks, the federal government passed the Real ID Act. This law set standards for all accepted forms of identification, such as state driver’s licenses.
The law prohibits federal agencies from accepting forms of identification that are not in compliance with the standards. The law now requires stricter proof of residence as a way to prevent a repeat of what happened with the 9/11 terrorists. Some of the terrorists had obtained fraudulent identifications and more than half of them has been issued driver’s licenses by the state of Virginia.
In order to give states time to comply with the act, the federal government, under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announced a phasing in of enforcement. Each state was given a certain amount of time to implement the new driver’s license rules.
As part of the Real ID Act, these new licenses will be required at all TSA checkpoints to board domestic flights. The new rule will begin January 2018. Only the new licenses or licenses from states which were granted extensions by DHS will be accepted.
TSA will also accept a passport or military identification card. The state of Virginia was one of the states issued an extension and will begin issuing the new licenses beginning in October 2018.
In order to obtain a new license, drivers will have to produce two forms of identification and their social security card. Residents have until October 2020 to get the new license. After that date, TSA will no longer accept the current version.
In a discussion regarding the upcoming new license program, Attorney Natalia Segermeister of the Price Benowitz Law Firm said, “Although there has been some controversy surrounding the new license requirements, with many people referring to them as a ‘national id’ instead of individual driver’s licenses, it is still important for people to make sure they follow the law as in order to avoid legal issues in the future.”