WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/-- The Department of Homeland Security The REAL ID Act’s enforcement will start next year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today. The enforcement steps will begin in April 2014 within restricted areas of the DHS headquarters, followed by a phased approach, with substantial enforcement in 2016. The 2005 REAL ID Act prohibits the federal government from accepting driver’s licenses and ID cards that do not meet minimum security standards set by DHS, no later than May 2017. The minimum standards require that driver’s license security features be routinely upgraded to be counterfeit resistant and require applicants to provide documentary proofs confirm true identity. REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards are key elements of the nation’s homeland security strategy. Enforcement of the law will clarify and differentiate between compliant state-issued identity credentials versus less reliable proofs of identity when admitting people to secure federal facilities or, beginning in 2016, to board airlines.

Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License (CSDL) President Brian Zimmer said, “We are strongly encouraged that REAL ID enforcement will finally get underway so all states get the message that consequences for non-compliance will soon start to affect their residents. The phased approach should ensure that the public is well informed that enforcement is coming.  Zimmer continued, “The Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License congratulates the twenty-one currently compliant states for moving forward to provide their residents with secure driver’s licenses. People in REAL ID compliant states probably won’t even notice these enforcement steps. By contrast, residents of non-compliant states will need to make adjustments, including obtaining other proofs of identity, like passports. Their only alternative will be to forgo access to secure federal facilities or forgo commercial air travel. For example, they can travel by train.”  In 2012, all governors were notified by DHS that each needed to provide a status report on REAL ID compliance. All but two states, Arizona and Pennsylvania, provided a response.  DHS has certified 21 states as compliant with the REAL ID Act’s rules. Mississippi and Vermont are the latest states to join Alabama, Hawaii, Florida, Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming .