CRANSTON, R.I. – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has granted an extension to the State of Rhode Island to comply with the federal REAL ID Act.
The federal government passed the REAL ID Act in 2005 in response to the 9/11 terror attacks to establish minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards. The act prohibits federal agencies, such as the Transportation Security Administration, from accepting licenses and identification cards for official purposes from states that do not meet certain standards. Those standards include requiring applicants to provide proof of identity and lawful status in the U.S, and states to use counterfeit-resistant security features in the IDs.
Beginning Jan. 22, 2018, driver's licenses or state IDs issued by states that are not in compliance with the REAL ID Act and that have not been granted an extension by the Department of Homeland Security may not be used to fly within the United States.
Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, every traveler will need a REAL ID-compliant license or state ID or another acceptable form of identification, such as passports, to fly within the U.S. More information is available here: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification
The DHS has informed the DMV that Rhode Island is among the nearly 20 states recently granted extensions to October 2018.
"The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recognizes the State of Rhode Island's efforts in supporting our shared goal of improving the security of state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards. . . Rhode Island has a path forward toward satisfying REAL ID requirements," said Elaine C. Duke, acting DHS secretary. "As such, DHS is granting Rhode Island an extension through October 10, 2018 to satisfy the requirements of the REAL ID Act and regulations."
The DMV has moved steadily toward compliance with REAL ID, receiving previous extensions to continue its efforts.
In August 2016, the Division began issuing driver's licenses and identification cards featuring additional security features required by federal law and updated AAMVA (American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators) standards. The new cards meet or exceed the latest nationally accepted card security standards to better protect Rhode Islanders against fraud and identity theft.
On July 5, 2017, the DMV took a major step toward compliance with the successful launch of the Rhode Island Modernization System – the computer system that replaced its 40-year-old predecessor.
"The Division continues the technical and process development work needed to comply with the provisions of REAL ID," said Walter R. "Bud" Craddock, the DMV's administrator. "We are confident that we will complete that work in time to achieve full compliance by January 2019 as required by DHS."
The DMV plans to start the driver's license re-certification process in January 2019.