DHS Standard to Change Driver's Licenses, ID Cards

The Department of Homeland Security is proposing to set minimum standards for state-issued driver's licenses and ID cards that federal agencies would accept for official purposes after May 11, 2008, meeting the mandate of the REAL ID Act of 2005. The new DHS rule would direct the information and security features that must be incorporated in each card; application information to establish the identity and immigration status of an applicant before a card can be issued; and physical security standards for locations where licenses and ID cards are issued.

DHS said it will accept comments until May 8. Comments should be identified by the DHS docket number DHS-2006-0030 and may be submitted via www.regulations.gov or faxed to 866-466-5370.

The proposed rule would require states to certify they are in compliance with these requirements, and DHS must concur, before the licenses and cards can be accepted by federal agencies. Not all driver's licenses and ID cards can be reissued by May 11, 2008, so the proposal provides a five-year phase-in period. The security features on the card would prevent tampering, counterfeiting or duplication; each state must prepare a comprehensive security plan for all State DMV offices and driver's license/identification card storage and production facilities, databases, and systems and submit its plan to DHS as part of its certification package.

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