United States: Deadline Postponed for State REAL ID Compliance
States will have until January 15, 2013 to implement federal security standards for driver’s licenses and state identification cards as required by the READ ID Act. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today published a final rule postponing the deadline for full state compliance, which had most recently been set for May 11, 2011. If the deadline had not been extended, many state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards would no longer have been accepted as identification to board commercial aircraft, enter federal buildings or for other federal purposes.
DHS has again extended the deadline because, though some states have already taken steps toward REAL ID compliance, many others would not have been able to meet the May target date. During the current economic climate, many states have been unable to afford the cost of changing their driver’s license systems. In addition, some states deferred investing in system upgrades because Congress had been considering bills that would have changed some driver’s license requirements to make it easier to comply with REAL ID.
What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals
Foreign nationals and their employers should not see any change in their ability to use state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards for traveling or entering federal buildings on May 11, 2011. At the same time, because many states have laws and policies that restrict the issuance of drivers’ licenses and state IDs to non-citizens, foreign nationals could still encounter difficulties in obtaining or renewing these documents.