14-12-2017 – REAL ID: Fact or myth #1

Can you tell whether the statement below is a fact, or a myth?


Compliance with REAL ID is mandatory at the federal, state, and individual levels.


This is a myth!


What are the facts?

The requirements to comply with REAL ID vary by group. Here’s the deal:

  • Federal government: Certain federal (or federally-regulated) facilities are required to admit only individuals who present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card, OR another acceptable form of ID, such as a passport. Federal employees who control access to commercial airlines, nuclear power plants, military bases, and certain federal buildings must, by certain implementation dates, check the ID of all civilians wishing to enter.
  • States and territories: When the REAL ID Act became law, some states were up in arms. Some objected to the expense and disruption of converting to REAL ID. Other states feared the information collected about individuals would be used to build a national database. The truth is, state compliance with the REAL ID Act is voluntary. Ultimately, all states and territories chose to comply with REAL ID.
  • Individual citizens: If a state chooses to comply with REAL ID, must all of its residents apply for a REAL ID driver’s license or ID card? Well, it depends. States have some latitude on this, so the answer varies from one state to the next. Certain states, like Texas and Maryland, issue REAL ID-compliant cards to everyone who meets the criteria; individuals may not opt out. In most states, though, citizens have the choice to apply for a REAL ID credential—or not.

Check out our next “Fact or Myths ?” next week!

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