New ID cards to be required in 2020

ESCANABA — Thinking of boarding a commercial airline flight? In the near future, you will need a special identification card to do that or to be permitted in other places.

Delta County residents will have to make the decision to have a REAL ID compliant driver’s license, or identification card, by Oct. 1, 2020. The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been leading the change to REAL ID cards since 2005, due to stronger security efforts needed in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The REAL ID Michigan driver’s license and identification cards have a star inside a gold circle on the upper right hand corner to show compliance to the REAL ID Act of 2005.

A REAL ID compliant card allows a resident of the U.S. to board a federally regulated commercial aircraft, access a federal facility, enter a military base or nuclear power plant, and proves the card holder is legally present in the U.S. If the card holder declines to carry a REAL ID, they will need other forms of identification to board an airplane (check with the Transportation Security Administration), and officially enter the previously mentioned type of facilities.

“A lot of people in this area opt-out because they don’t have the added documents with them, or they don’t need the REAL ID card,” said Wes Rhein, Secretary of State branch manager in Escanaba. “When residents receive the ‘REAL ID and You’ pamphlet I don’t think they read it.”

The REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses and IDs are completely voluntary and cost the same as a standard ID. If you do not fly, do not plan to enter federal facilities, military bases and nuclear power plants, it is not needed. If a resident has a valid U.S. passport, enhanced driver’s license or enhanced ID card, they already meet the REAL ID federal standards and do not need the REAL ID compliant card.

To obtain a REAL ID driver’s license or ID you will need to bring the following documents to the Secretary of State office.

– A valid photo identity document, as in an unexpired U.S. passport or passport card, or

– a certified U.S. document showing the applicant’s date of birth with a stamp or raised seal, or

– proof of a Social Security number, or verification applicant is not eligible for a Social Security number

– documentation showing applicant’s name and address of principal residence

– if the present name is different than on the previous card, documentation to prove the name change

– glasses or contacts if they are used when driving.

Communications Representative, Mike Doyle from the Office of Communications in Lansing noted, “We (Michigan) started offering the REAL ID option Aug. 28, 2017. If someone decides they want the REAL ID license or ID before their current one expires, there is a fee of $9.”

Doyle also stated once a resident has a REAL ID driver’s license or ID, they need not provide additional paperwork the next time the driver’s license or identification is renewed.

The REAL ID Act of 2005, enacted May 2005, is an Act of Congress that modified the U.S. federal law pertaining to security, authentication and issuance procedure standards for driver’s licenses and identification cards, as well as various immigration issues pertaining to terrorism.

Revealed in the Sept. 11 Commission Report, all but one of the terrorist hijackers acquired identification to assist them in boarding the planes, renting cars, and other activities leading up to the attacks on the U.S., Sept. 11. The commission recommended the federal government create a more secure way to verify legal presence in the U.S.

Initially, compliance of all states was to be completed by May 11, 2008, but the Secretary of Homeland Security granted the extension of time due to various issues.

Throughout the implementation of REAL IDs, the DHS has had an on-going dialog with each state, discussing the states’ ability to become compliant to the REAL ID Act and it’s regulations. Grant money of more than $263 million was given to the states, yet some states continued to have difficulty in complying due to diminished budgets. After a review of compliant and non-compliant states it became known to the DHS that some driver’s license and identification card expiration dates were after the Dec. 1, 2014, previous compliant date. DHS then decided it was best to push the date of compliance to Oct. 1, 2020, because of significant operational and cost burdens on both compliant states and their residents.

“The Act affected the way we trained the staff,” said Rhein. “We prepared them with answers to questions they may be asked, and how to fill out the appropriate forms. Other than that, processing a license is not that different.”

Visit the website www.michigan.gov, or stop by the Michigan Secretary of State office in Escanaba to have any questions answered regarding the rules about REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards.