DHS to make decision on REAL ID compliance by 2013

Monday - 7/18/2011, 7:47pm EDT

By Courtney Thompson
Federal News Radio

The Department of Homeland Security will make a final determination on whether states are conforming to the Real ID Act of 2005 in the next 18 months.

The act restricts citizens from accessing many federal facilities and commercial aircraft if their state-issued driver's license and identification card do not comply with the law's security standards.

The agency will review and decide state compliance to Real ID by Jan. 15, 2013.

"This is a revision to the Real ID information request that covered submissions of material compliance checklists and requests for extensions to meet the requirements of the regulation," DHS stated in its Federal Register notice issued on Monday.

"This collection is being revised to cover the collection of information required under the regulation for full compliance, including recordkeeping requirements and employee background checks, and to include information to assist DHS in making full compliance determinations."

In the meantime, DHS will accept comments from states until Sept. 16, to evaluate the process's practicality, validity and clarity.

DHS is asking that states provide certification and proof of legal authority to participate in driver's license and identification card issuance programs. The agency also requests that the highest ranking executive from each state's department of motor vehicle submit evidence of its license and card programs. The certification should accompany a letter from the state's Attorney General confirming that the state meets the standards as well.

The agency would like for states to describe their exceptions and waiving processes in a detailed description. Specifically, DHS wants to know how states handle individuals who have alternate documents of identification and determine in what cases persons involved in the document production process should undergo the necessary background checks.

The information collected by DHS will include a detailed security plan by each state that protects documents and personally identifiable information and includes storage facilities.

After DHS makes its final determination in 2013, each state will have to verify alignment with regulations every three years as decided by the agency.

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Courtney Thompson is an intern with Federal News Radio.

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