What does the REAL ID program mean to residents of New Jersey? First, let’s begin by explaining what the REAL ID program is. REAL ID is a Federal law that tightens requirements surrounding ID’s that can be used for various purposes – the most salient here is to board a commercial airplane. Although the REAL ID Act was passed in 2005, New Jersey has still not met these requirements in its issued motor vehicle driver licenses. However, New Jersey – like a number of other states – has received an extension that allows additional time to implement the law. How much time? As of this writing, we have until 2020.
The purpose of the REAL ID law is to enhance security surrounding identification documents, and one of the benefits is reported to be reduction of identity theft and fraud. In order to benefit from the above, states and its residents have had to undergo some pitfalls. For example, states that implemented earlier saw huge lines in their DMV agencies. DMVs had to implement significant projects in order to add the requisite number of characters and other safety features – something the New Jersey DMV is reported to be working on at present.
Surprisingly, the ID card issued to our Veterans (“VET ID”) is not compliant with REAL ID. And our New Jersey driver license is not yet compliant. But, even if at some point a New Jersey driver license will not enable a New Jersey resident to board a commercial plane, he or she will still be able to use an unexpired passport. Conveniently for New Jersey residents, most counties’ clerks offices offer passport services.
To read further on this topic, additional resources are found below:
The United States Department of Homeland Security, REAL ID, https://www.dhs.gov/real-id (accessed 12/19/18).
New York Times, Is Your ID Approved for Travel? These Are the Latest Rules, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/18/travel/is-your-id-approved-for-travel-these-are-the-latest-rules.html (1/18/2018).