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REAL ID is Nearly Here
Is Illinois Ready to Comply?

Nowadays, you can’t enter most office buildings without first displaying a driver’s license (DL) or a state-issued identification card (ID).  Starting January 22, 2018, you may not be able to board a domestic flight unless you have a more secure form of identification (e.g., passport, other federally-issued ID). Your state-issued identification won’t be accepted. Come October, your state ID may not allow access to a federal facility, a military base, or a nuclear power plant. Why? These IDs won’t comply with the REAL ID Act of 2005.

The Legacy of 9/11

In 2004, the 9/11 Commission recommended adoption of nationwide guidelines, making it harder to obtain a DL or state ID without proper identification. This recommendation was in direct response to the finding: many of the hijackers obtained state-issued DLs/IDs using fake documents.

Although REAL ID’s guidelines are voluntary, nearly all states intend to comply with the law. Currently, about half the states are in compliance. Illinois is one of 23 states to obtain an extension of time in order to comply. The state’s current extension runs out October 10, 2017.

If Illinois does not get another extension its residents will not be able to board a plane using their DL or state-issued ID come January 2018. Illinois hopes to be fully compliant sometime in 2018. After October 1, 2020, no more extensions to the law will be granted.

Getting a REAL ID is Optional

No one has to get a REAL ID (DL or state ID). Whether you need a REAL ID depends on several factors. Are you are a frequent traveler? Do you routinely visit a federal facility (nuclear power plant, military bases)? If you answered yes to either question you may want to get a REAL ID, especially if you do not have another form of ID.

To apply for a REAL ID, you will need to present your Social Security card and a certified copy of your birth certificate. Minors (children under 18) do not need to get a REAL ID in order to fly domestically. Only one REAL ID will be issued to each person.

If you are hyper vigilant about securing your personal data, getting a REAL ID may not be your cup of tea.

One commentator opined that there is no guarantee that states will be able to secure your personal data for several reasons. One, federal law mandates that states maintain REAL ID application records for a minimum of seven years. Two, your personal data will be linked to other state motor vehicle databases.

Lastly, what would stop the federal government from demanding access to this information in the future? See http://www.themainewire.com/2017/04/real-id-dangerous-id/print/. One need look no further than the recent request for state voter registration information by President Trump’s voter fraud commission.

If these scenarios are cause for concern, there is simple solution: dust off your passport.

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