Washington State Residents Get Another Reprieve From Real ID
If you haven't heard, the Department of Homeland Security has again delayed the implementation of the Real ID program. The most recent deadline was May 3rd of 2023. The new deadline is May 7th of 2025. The Department cited "circumstances resulting from the COVID 19 Pandemic" as the reason for the latest push.
What is Real ID?
Real ID was created through the Real ID Act of 2005 that passed Congress. In order to get a Real ID you must provide proof that you are either a U.S. Citizen or a foreign national who is legally allowed to be in the U.S.
Why was it passed?
The bill, authored by former Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner as H.R.418, was passed on the heels of the 9/11 attacks. The goal was to create a uniform identification system for access to Federal facilities and for any travel controlled by the Federal government, such as air travel. The bill cleared the House of Representatives and the Senate and was signed by President George W Bush.
Why has it taken so long to implement?
That is the $64,000 question. A number of States initially balked at having to comply with Federal requirements when they previous had autonomy regarding issuing driver's licenses and ID cards. It was initially supposed to kick in on May 11th 2008, but the overwhelming majority of States were no where near compliance. That is when the goalposts began being moved back.
The long road to compliance...
In 2011 DHS again extended deadline with an eye towards enforcing compliance around the corner. The Department began certifying States that were in compliance in 2012. Thirteen States were given the sign off that year with another eight in 2013. Only seven States over the next four years were certified compliance. States that applied for waivers were usually granted them. Then in 2018 eleven more States, including Washington State, were deemed compliant and in 2020 the final three States, including Oregon, that were recognized as meeting all requirements.
What will qualify as a Real ID?
An Enhanced Driver's License (EDL) in Washington State satisfies the Real ID requirements. Make sure you have all the information required in order to get your EDL in a timely manner. If you do not have an EDL by the time Real ID enforcement goes in to effect you will not be able to fly and you won't be able to enter any federally run facility. That facilities include but aren't limited to any Federal Courthouse, like in Richland , Federal Parks, Nuclear Power Plants, and Dams controlled and run by the Federal Government.
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