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Federal government certifies Rhode Island REAL ID program

CRANSTON, R.I. The R.I. Division of Motor Vehicles announced today that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has determined that the state's REAL ID program is fully compliant with federal security requirements.

In December 2018, the Division of Motor Vehicles began issuing driver's licenses and identification cards in accordance with the requirements established under the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. DMV customers now have the choice between getting a REAL ID-compliant driver's license/ID card or a standard Rhode Island driver's license/ID card.

The REAL ID Act was enacted by the federal government in response to the 9/11 terror attacks to establish security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards. Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, only REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses or IDs (or passports) will be accepted for domestic air travel and entry into certain federal facilities.

The DMV has worked toward full compliance with the REAL ID program since passage of the federal law, reaching noteworthy milestones along the way -- including issuing a new license/ID credential that meets federal fraud/security standards, launching a more-secure computer system and, last year, providing Rhode Islanders with the option of obtaining driver's licenses and identifications cards compliant with the federal REAL ID program.

DHS officials conducted a thorough review of the state's REAL ID program and informed Gov. Gina M. Raimondo in a letter on Monday "that DHS has made a final determination that Rhode Island is in full compliance with the REAL ID Act and regulation. With this notification, federal agencies may continue to accept for official purposes driver's licenses and identification cards issued by Rhode Island."

In the letter, Elizabeth Neumann, a DHS assistant secretary, wrote: "I applaud Rhode Island's leadership in enhancing the security of its driver's licenses and identification cards."

DMV Administrator Walter R. "Bud" Craddock said: "We are proud to reach this important milestone in our efforts to meet the stringent requirements of the federal REAL ID program. "Our employees have worked diligently to reach this point, but much effort remains. We will continue to work hard to help all Rhode Islanders who choose to get a REAL ID obtain one."

"We ask only that you help us serve you. Please visit www.dmv.ri.gov/realid to educate yourself about the REAL ID program and come prepared with the documents you will need for a successful visit to DMV or AAA office."

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