Posted on Thursday, 11th April 2019 by

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Anyone that plans on traveling in the future, applying for a passport or needs access to a government building will require a REAL ID. Without this document travel by plane or anywhere out of country will be impossible.

Graphic excerpted from the DHS website

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the REAL ID program was passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards.

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Pennsylvania along with Alaska, Oregon, Montana, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kentucky, and Maine were all a little late to the game. California is still under review. Pennsylvania just started processing REAL ID Driver’s Licenses this spring.  I was one of the first to apply for and receive my new PA Driver’s License that serves as a REAL ID.  The process was fairly simple and straight forward with just a few wrinkles along the way.

Flight restrictions started on January 22, 2018. Passengers with a driver’s license issued by a state that is still not compliant with the REAL ID Act (and has not been granted an extension) will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel to board their flight.  To check whether your state is compliant or has an extension, click here.  Passengers with driver’s licenses issued by a state that is compliant with REAL ID (or a state that has been issued an extension) will still be able to use their driver’s licenses or identification cards.

The DHS website states that, “starting October 1, 2020, every state and territory resident will need to present a REAL ID compliant license/ID, or another acceptable form of identification, for accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and boarding commercial aircraft.  This is what they call “card-based” enforcement.  The card, itself, must be REAL ID compliant unless the resident is using an alternative acceptable document such as a passport. The Act does not require individuals to present identification where it is not currently required to access a Federal facility (such as to enter the public areas of the Smithsonian) nor does it prohibit an agency from accepting other forms of identity documents other than documents from non-compliant states (such as a U.S. passport or passport card).

If you need to replace lost documents review “Replacing Lost or Stolen Documents” that I wrote last year.

To obtain my REAL ID I had to present proof of identity, my Social Security Card, and proof of Pennsylvania residency.

If you are a U.S. Citizen, acceptable documents include:

  • A United States birth certificate with a raised seal
  • A valid U.S. Passport or Passport Card
  • Certificate of U.S. Citizenship or Consular Report of birth abroad
  • Certificate of Naturalization

Lawful permanent residents have several documents they too can use to obtain the new ID.

For proof of Pennsylvania residency, I only had to show my PA driver’s license.  They also list your veteran status on your real ID; in Pennsylvania they print a small American Flag with VETERAN typed below. I took a copy of my DD-214 form with me however it wasn’t necessary. You are allowed to self-certify veteran status however you must sign and agree that, “all information contained herein is true and correct. I understand that any misstatement of fact is a misdemeanor of the third degree punishable by a fine up to $2,500 and/or imprisonment up to 1 year (18 Pa.C.S. Section 4904(b))”

My driver’s license was due for renewal so I was able to take care of everything in just one visit to the local Penn Dot office.  You have to have current and updated documents including a birth certificate with raised seal and other original documents to not only get a REAL ID but for passports and passport cards.  Passports have a slightly different ID requirements, your birth certificate must have both parents listed on the raised seal certificate.

My daughter and her husband recently applied for a passport and the clerk rejected their birth certificates. Their official state issued certificates from the 1980s didn’t list their parents on the document. I didn’t need this for our REAL ID, they accepted our raised seal birth certificate that I ordered from the State back in 1987. We ordered new birth certificates from Vital Statistics last week so that we can apply for passports this year.

If you intend to travel in the future or visit a federal facility now is a good time to get your new ID card. It doesn’t take long and the process isn’t complicated, it just takes a little time to gather your  documents, and head to your local driver’s license renewal center.

Request a  Federal Retirement Report™  today to review your projected annuity payments, income verses expenses, FEGLI, and TSP projections

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Disclaimer:Opinions expressed herein by the author are not an investment or benefit recommendation and are not meant to be relied upon in investment or benefit decisions. The author is not acting in an investment, tax, legal, benefit, or any other advisory capacity. This is not an investment or benefit research report. The author’s opinions expressed herein address only select aspects of various federal benefits and potential investment in securities of the TSP and companies mentioned and cannot be a substitute for comprehensive investment analysis. Any analysis presented herein is illustrative in nature, limited in scope, based on an incomplete set of information, and has limitations to its accuracy. The author recommends that retirees, potential and existing investors conduct thorough investment and benefit research of their own, including detailed review of OPM guidance for benefit issues and for investments the companies’ SEC filings, and consult a qualified investment adviser. The information upon which this material is based was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but has not been independently verified. Therefore, the author cannot guarantee its accuracy. Any opinions or estimates constitute the author’s best judgment as of the date of publication, and are subject to change without notice. The author explicitly disclaims any liability that may arise from the use of this material.

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