What is the Real ID and why process the new identification?

POR Hispanic Entrepreneurs December 26, 2023
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As of May 3, 2023, it is mandatory to have the new Real ID identification card to access commercial flights in the United States, a key measure in airport security and identity management. This document has been approved since 2005, although its application has been postponed on several occasions. Today in Hispanic Entrepreneurs we explain what is Real ID and why do you have to process it.

What is Real ID in the USA?

Among the documents required in the United States, the Real ID stands out as an essential identification for travelers and residents. The Real ID is a new identification card that will replace the regular driver's license to board domestic flights. Additionally, it will be used to access federal facilities and nuclear power plants.

The Real ID in Spanish (real identification)

The implementation of Real ID, established by Congress' Real ID Act in 2005, reflects a significant advance in national security policies. It was done on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. The purpose is to establish minimum security standards in the issuance of driver's licenses and identification cards.

This new identification collects personal data verified at the time of the request, ensuring greater reliability and security. These are full legal name, date of birth, gender, residential address, signature and photograph.

It incorporates advanced security and coding elements, which makes it significantly difficult to counterfeit.

It must be clarified that the regular driver's license will remain valid; but it cannot be used to board domestic flights, enter federal facilities or nuclear power plants.

Since May 3, 2023, federal agencies exclusively require the Real ID as a valid document. as an identification document to access federal facilities. It was scheduled to begin use this year, but had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Real ID is essential for those who use their driver's license for domestic flights and as identification at federal security checkpoints. However, there are other alternatives to Real ID to travel and other purposes indicated by law.

If you do not have a Real ID, also known as a Star Card, alternative options include a passport; passport card; US military ID; permanent residence card; foreign passport with valid visa, or others TSA accepted documents.

How to process the new identification card?

Currently, all states are processing Real ID through their respective Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMV). People who want to continue using their driver's license to travel by plane must obtain it before the deadline.

To know the process, they must go to the corresponding DMV website. There they can verify the requirements, verify how much the real id costs and request an appointment to do the procedure.

Who can get the Real ID:

  • Documentation indicating the full legal name and date of birth.
  • Social Security number.
  • Two proofs of tax domicile.
  • Legal status.

Each state, however, may request additional requirements. For this reason, it is important to check the web before going to the DMV in person.

New applicants for driver's licenses have the option of choosing between regular or Real ID.

Among the frequent doubts about this procedure we find who can get the Real ID. All US citizens and those migrants who demonstrate their legal stay in the country can obtain the new identification. This includes permanent residents, student or work visa holders, among others.

For minors traveling with an adult, it will not be mandatory to present the Real ID. But your companion must present this or one of the other valid options.

For people who have an Enhanced Driver's License (EDL), they will be able to use this as acceptable documentation. The only states that issue these types of licenses are Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington.

You can identify the Real ID cards by the star mark in the upper right corner. In the regular ones, the text “Federal limits apply” will appear.

Is it mandatory to have the Real ID?

You are not required to have this document, unless you want to continue to use your driver's license as identification to enter federal facilities. These include airport security screening.

If you don't have it, you can use any of the other permitted documents.

Other procedures such as applying to federal social benefits, open bank accounts, access hospitals, etc. it can be done with a regular driver's license.

Other agencies other than the Department of Security and the Transportation Security Administration may require Real ID as identification. For example, the Department of Defense will stop accepting cards that do not meet the Real ID requirements.

So it is important to check with the agency in question about the identification requirements before going to their facilities.

We hope we have clarified your doubts about what the Real ID is and if you need to process it or not. Go to your local DMV to get your ID card, if applicable.

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