Pennsylvania Granted Extension on REAL ID
January 30, 2017
Pennsylvania was granted an extension on the implementation of the REAL ID law. This law requires residents to have new, acceptable forms of identification to enter various federal facilities. If the REAL ID law had gone forward without an extension, by just next year no Pennsylvania driver’s licenses would have been viable forms of identification to use to board domestic flights or to gain entrance into federal buildings.
The REAL ID law was enacted in 2005 and modified laws centered on securing, authenticating and issuing driver’s licenses and other identity documents. The main intention of this law is to keep American citizens safe, particularly in lieu of domestic terror attacks. The REAL ID law changed the federal standards for state-issued driver’s licenses as well as non-driver identification cards. The law made changes to the methods for obtaining travel visas as well as their maximum time limits and funded reports and projects for U.S. border security and safety.
Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania’s governor, contacted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and made the commitment that Pennsylvania would move forward and update its driver’s licenses, requiring them to meet with the put-forth statutory requirements. Because of a 2012 state law, Pennsylvania did not have to update its driver’s licenses, so while they were not in federal compliance, no immediate changes needed to be made.
One of the governor’s goals is to prohibit serious inconveniences to Pennsylvanians, since air travel and access to federal facilities would become an issue requiring different forms of identification. To fly or visit a federal building without an extension would have necessitated a passport or a different form of federally accepted identification. The law pertains to federal buildings such as DHS headquarters, nuclear power plants as well as restricted and semi-restricted federal facilities.
The federal government issued the state an extension until June 5th of this year. Both Pennsylvania’s Senate President and Majority Leader commented on the granting of the extension and promised that the time would be used to bring the state into compliance with federal regulations and statutes. These representatives of the state hope to come into compliance in a way that is simple and will not cost Pennsylvanians much of their hard-earned money.
The DHS is aware that Pennsylvania is moving towards compliance, and said that if the state continues to make appropriate steps towards “enhancing the security of its drivers licenses and identification cards” that the possibility of granting future extensions remains possible. Because one of the main aims of the REAL ID act is to prevent tamper and counterfeit-resistance driver’s licenses, thus increasing national safety, the DHS is serious about state meeting federal standards.
Philadelphia Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Advocates for Victims of Identity Fraud
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