Northeastern states submit to Real ID certification processes

Posted: May 19, 2011 in certification, identification, identity, NSTIC biometrics, Real ID

Citizens opting out now may eventually possess national IDs for federal purposes

BTC – Several northeastern States are currently on the path of “self certification” or a State’s certification process of compliance with the Real ID benchmark process. Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Vermont, and Connecticut have all expressed intent to comply with Real ID regulations.

State certification is an interrim process for States to begin compliance with Real ID regulations.  12 states responded to an initial call for compliance certification in 2008.  The process involves several letters of approval, issued by a combination of State officials, the State Attorney General’s office and consent of a State’s Governor.

Federal funding to support State costs for Real ID certification initiatives was recently reinstated.  The National Conference of State Legislatures [NCSL] received a grant notice today for $45 million in Real ID appropriations.   State governments and licensing divisions who accept grants may buy into more biometric technology upgrades for licenses and to build database infrastructure.  DHS had previously omitted federal appropriations for Real ID in March, 2011.

The complicated process of national Real ID compliance is now encumbered by 25 States, who issued bans to the costs, policies and regulations.  Efforts to mitigate federal standards in states like California, who recently upgraded local licenses for federal acceptance by the TSA, allow license applicants to opt-out of a national or federal ID card. According to Molly Ramsdell at NCSL, states expecting to be certified by the next DHS deadline, will bring license holders into federal compliance, even if they opted out of the process originally.

Gold Starred Real ID “self certified” license

Northeastern residents in New York and New Jersey who may have opted out of the enhanced drivers license, containing an insecure RFID tag, and the federal ID program would be required to provide proof of citizenship to renew their licenses by 2013. Their ID cards may be used in the future for crossing continental borders, boarding airplanes or other purposes deemed by DHS, like logging into an online terminal with a universal digital identifier.

States engaged in the certification process may issue ID cards featuring a gold star, indicating the license is headed for DHS approval by the next deadline.   To date, no State has been officially certified or deemed materially compliant with Real ID regulations due DHS extension of the deadlines until January 15, 2013.

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