Looming Real ID deadline prompts request for extension

March 23, 2020

Land Line Staff

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The National Governors Association is calling to delay the upcoming Real ID deadline for no less than one year.

The group sent a letter on March 17 to Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, making the request.

Among the reasons for delaying the deadline are the widespread closures of driver’s licensing offices around the country. Click here for updates on those closures and more trucking related news on the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We believe an extension will allow all of us to focus our efforts on combatting the spread and severity of COVID-19. More time will also give Congress the ability to pass legislation that will update the 2005 Real ID Act and bring it up to speed with today’s technology. This will also give DHS time to make regulatory changes,” the group wrote in its letter to Wolf.

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Beyond the COVID-19 hurdles that could hinder the issuance of Real ID compliant cards, the association took aim at challenges the 15-year-old statute creates in getting the cards out the door.

“The 15-year-old statute has not kept up with today’s technology. Additionally, the current regulatory framework creates unnecessary administrative burdens and constraints. This has led to slower and lower levels of issuance of Real ID compliant cards as well as frustrations for American citizens,” the group wrote.

In addition to requesting to delay the deadline, the group also made four recommendations to DHS to improve the system.

The group recommends several changes.

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Administrative policy and regulatory changes:

  • DHS should immediately update its list of acceptable Real ID identity verification documents for application presentation, including, documents currently accepted by TSA for satisfying airport security protocol.
  • DHS should create a unified, national marketing plan to intensify public outreach that will educate more American citizens, avoid excessive delays and minimize additional costs to states and territories
  • DHS should set up an exception process for older applicants and vetted populations.
  • DHS should delay the recertification process until such a time that a state and territory is at least at a 75% issuance rate.
  • Consider state-to-state Real ID reciprocity, eliminating the need to repeat documentation and verification processes.
  • Create an easy-to-use, online and print resource documents for applicants, such as a required document checklist.

Federal statutory changes: 

  • Provide funding for states through a Real ID state grant program to support increased staffing, training and public education efforts.
  • Modernize the Real ID Act to keep pace with new and innovative technological innovations.
  • Appropriate dedicated funding to DHS for a national marketing campaign.
  • Clarify within the Act the ability for states, territories and DHS to recognize and accept electronic verification of documents through federal and state systems rather than requiring paper documents.
  • Allow states and territories to utilize information from currently existing federal travel programs, such as TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry.