SEATTLE, Wash. — For years, Washington residents have expressed confusion over whether their driver’s licenses will get them through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints in the near future.
The concerns stem from a complicated federal law passed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to bring better security at airports, and Washington state is still working to get into compliance.
Washington state has been given extensions multiple times to get into compliance. The latest deadline is October 2018, and the state expects to meet expectations by that time.
States that have been granted an extension will not be subject to Real ID enforcement at airports or federal facilities until October 2020, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
There are a few reasons why the state has taken so long:
1. Washington state offers two IDs: a standard ID, which does not require proof of residency, and an enhanced ID, which does require proof of residency.
2. REAL ID is a mandate for federal agencies, and participation by states is voluntary, not required.
3. Also, Washington state had a law that prevented lawmakers from getting compliant with federal regulations. But an agreement made in the Legislature in 2017, and then signed by Gov. Jay Inslee, overturned that law.
Inslee signed a new bill in April 2017, for a two-tier licensing system, in attempt to get in compliance. This bill is under review with DHS.
Some state lawmakers believe the new law doesn’t go far enough to require proof of legal presence and others argue the licenses could lead to discrimination.
Under the new two-tier system, standard licenses will be marked as non-compliant in July 2018. The state and its residents will rely on enhanced licenses.
Basically, the solution in Washington is that people will have to choose which form of identification they want.
How to prepare yourself for the change:
- How's Washington state fixing its out-of-compliance standard licenses?
- Passport to fly domestically? What Washington residents need to know
- What kind of identification does a Washington resident need to get on a plane?
- How do I get a Washington enhanced driver's license?
- New standard WA driver's licenses still won't get you through airport security after changes
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