What is REAL ID and how to request it

This federal law was approved by Congress in 2005, after the terrorist attacks suffered on September 11, 2001 in US and requires presenting identification with an enhanced security system to pass through security checkpoints at airports or entering federal facilities, such as military bases and nuclear power plants.

As of its implementation, the traditional driver’s license will no longer be accepted at Transportation Security Authority (TSA, for its acronym in English) inspection, prior to a commercial flight, or prior to entering certain federal facilities.

According to the announcement made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS, for its acronym in English) on October 1, 2020, approximately 110 million driver’s licenses and identification documents have been issued that comply with the REAL ID, which represents 40% of the universe of driver’s licenses and holders of the identification document.

What’s REAL ID?

A REAL ID card isn’t a national identity document. It’s a driver’s license or identification license that conforms to the federal REAL ID guidelines.

The purpose of REAL ID is to make identity documents more consistent and secure.

What do you need a REAL ID card for?

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They may ask you for a REAL ID to validate your identity when:

  • Board commercial flights regulated by the Federal Government.
  • Enter Federal Government facilities or perform certain specific procedures.
  • Enter nuclear plants.
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Who can get the REAL ID?

All US citizens and immigrants who prove their legal stay in the country. This last segment of the population includes permanent residents and holders of work or student visas, among others.

What body is responsible for processing the REAL ID?

All states must file REAL ID through their local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV, for its acronym in English).

What documents do you need to process the REAL ID?

The minimum requirements that are required are:

  • Social Security number.
  • Legal documentation indicating full name and date of birth.
  • Legal status.
  • 2 proofs of tax address.

However, each state may request additional requirements, which is why it’s recommended to check the website before going to the DMV in person.

How to process the new identification card?

To apply for a REAL ID, applicants can go to the DMV website, complete the application online, and upload the required documents before visiting a local office. The application can be found at https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/driver-licenses-identification-cards/real-id/

Due to the anticipated high demand, the DMV recommends that applicants wait until their “regular renewal cycle” to apply.

When will the REAL ID be applied?

It was scheduled to begin to apply on October 1, 2020, but due to the pandemic, it had to be postponed. Now, the deadline is October 1, 2021. By that day, all states must be issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses or IDs, and individuals must have already visited their state’s driver licensing agency and have obtained a REAL ID compliant card or an acceptable alternative, such as a US passport, if they wish to fly commercial aircraft or access federal facilities.

In which states can you already get a REAL ID license?

As of September 5, 2019, 50 states and territories are in full compliance with REAL ID requirements.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS, for its acronym in English) has been working closely to provide assistance and guidance to achieve full compliance before the stated deadline.

How do I know if my license or identity card is REAL ID compliant?

The REAL ID document is sometimes referred to as the “Star Card” because most states mark them with a gold or black star in the upper right corner. If you don’t have one of these badges, you aren’t complying with REAL ID and it will not be accepted as proof of identity.

In addition, the card must include a “machine-readable encrypted zone”, such as the passport, with user information that can be scanned.

We hope we have been helpful and that you are much clearer in everything related to the “Star Card”.

Remember that in Tramites de Inmigracion USA Corp we advise and support you with all the immigration procedures that you and your family need. Trust us and our experience!

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