OLYMPIA, Wash. — The more than two dozen states and U.S. territories that currently have a temporary extension from the enforcement of federal requirements for state driver’s licenses and ID cards are now under a grace period through Jan. 22 as the federal government continues its review of states’ progress, Washington state officials said Tuesday.
Washington was among the states that initially had a REAL ID extension through Oct. 10. Officials with the state Department of Licensing said Tuesday they received notification from the Department of Homeland Security that while Washington’s state’s REAL ID request for an additional extension throughout October 2018 is awaiting review from the Secretary of Homeland Security, they will join the other states under a grace period through Jan. 22.
The federal law requires state driver’s licenses and ID cards to have security enhancements and to be issued to people who can prove they are legally in the United States. It was passed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to strengthen rules for identification needed at airports and federal facilities. Washington lawmakers passed a measure this year creating a two-tiered licensing system that was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee.
Washington state already offers, but does not mandate, enhanced driver’s licenses and IDs that require proof of U.S. citizenship and are valid under the federal law. Starting in July 2018, the state’s standard licenses — which aren’t in line with the federal requirements — will be marked to indicate they are not REAL ID compliant and thus not acceptable for certain purposes by federal authorities.
Residents will have a choice of which license they want. Those with the non-compliant licenses will eventually need additional documentation - such as a passport, permanent resident card or military ID - to board domestic commercial flights and for other federal purposes.