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Americans adapt to new identification specifications

Laura Rauscher | The Feather Online

The REAL ID provides an easier way to travel and helps to increase the security in the US by reducing fraudulent California IDs.

The countdown continues for over 300 million Americans that still have not applied for a federally mandated REAL ID. Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, the federal government is changing ID requirements and millions of Americans have yet to conform.

In order to fly within the US domestically and enter secure federal facilities like federal courthouses and military bases, travelers must have a REAL ID. The only exception is carrying a valid passport.

The REAL ID Act was established by Congress in 2005 as a result of the 9/11 tragedy. The act stated that all 50 states must have a minimum standard on driver’s licenses and identification cards as they pertain to identity verification and security features.  

The new document provides an easier way to travel and helps to increase the security in the US by reducing fraudulent California IDs. Anyone under the age of 18 is not yet required to have a REAL ID.

Jaime Garza, a DMV spokesperson from the department of DMV Public Affairs, offers some advice about waiting lines during the REAL ID process.

“If you are prepared with all the documents needed and have an appointment, the process currently takes about 20 minutes. An appointment is not necessary,” Garza said. “We have select offices open on Saturdays and select offices that offer extended weekday morning hours, except on Wednesday.”

Documents necessary in order to apply for a REAL ID:

  1. Proof of identity: present one official document that includes date of birth and full legal name.These may include a valid passport, original or certified copy of birth certificate, valid permanent residency card or documents reflecting TPS benefit eligibility, etc. 

If the applicant’s name has been changed, an additional name-change document showing the adjusted, true full name must be brought in, including any adoption documents or marriage certificates.

  1. Proof of Social Security number: Applicants must provide their Social Security card, Non-SSA-1099 form, W-2 form, pay stub with full SSN. These all must be original documents. A photocopy is not acceptable. Verify if the document is up to date and accurate to avoid delay. 
  1. Proof of residency (2): Rental or lease agreement, tax returns, insurance documents, medical or employment documents are required. Both documents require the applicant’s first and last name and the same mailing address that is listed on the driver license or identification card application. 

If an underage person is traveling in the company of an adult, the minor is not required to get a REAL ID. They are only required to provide an identity document and Social Security number. For safety procedures, teenagers must bring a document to show how they are related to the adult in order to satisfy the remaining federal requirements.  

In the following podcast, Laura Rauscher discusses the process of obtaining a REAL ID with campus home economics teacher, Kimberly Bell.

Non-US citizens must obtain their valid immigration documents and proof they have been granted a legal stay in the US for at least 12 months. Their immigration status will be confirmed by the department of Homeland Security Program, also known as SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements).

NOTE: REAL ID cards cannot be used for international sea cruise travel.

Laura Rauscher | The Feather Online

In order to fly within the US domestically and enter secure federal facilities, travelers must have a REAL ID.

Home economics teacher Kimberly Bell recently undertook the process of obtaining a REAL ID. She suggests making an appointment and implores ID seekers to bring all the correct paperwork to their appointment.

“When I got down there, I went to show them all my paperwork and my birth certificate has my maiden last name,” Bell said. “I didn’t know that I needed to bring my marriage certificate with me to show that my last name changed legally. They said, ‘so sorry, you’re going to have to come back later and go through this process again.’

“They gave me six months to complete the paperwork and come back and I didn’t have to pay the fee again,” Bell continued. “Once I had that document, I was able to go back and show them proof of my last name changing; it was easy. I got it in the mail within a couple fo weeks. So make sure you have all the right paperwork!”

Before going to the DMV to apply for the REAL ID, Garza reminds people to first verify their driver’s license expiration date.

We ask that you wait until it’s time to renew your driver license,” Garza continued. “If it expires after the implementation date of October 2020, and you have a passport, passport card or other federally accepted document, we encourage you to use that, if not, apply now.”

The DMV is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Location hours may vary.

For more articles, check out EDITORIAL: Modern day slavery impacts people of all ages, races, genders, backgrounds or BREAKING: Four campus tennis girls advance to playoffs, Nov. 1.

Laura Rauscher can be reached via email.

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