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REAL ID Act Compliance Date Extended

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that the compliance date for the REAL ID Act has been changed from May 11, 2011 to January 15, 2013. Under the REAL ID Act, federal agencies cannot accept a state driver’s license or personal identification card for any official purpose unless the document meets the requirements set forth in the Act. “Official purpose” pursuant to the Act and regulations includes, but is not limited to, accessing federal facilities and boarding federally regulated commercial aircrafts. Therefore, an individual with non-compliant state identification would be subject to additional screening or would have to provide additional or alternative documents in order to travel on commercial airlines or access government facilities for federal services. In order for states to comply with the standards set forth in the Act, states will have to implement systems and infrastructure enhancements, including upgrades to security features on identification documents and the protection of personal identity information. Many states continue to struggle with the funds and resources to implement the necessary changes to comply with the REAL ID Act. In light of these difficulties, DHS has extended the date by which states must show full compliance to January 15, 2013.