Missourians will be able to use their current state driver’s license to board airplanes at least until next October.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has granted Missouri an extension through Oct. 10, 2018, to get into compliance with the federal REAL ID Act.
Without the waiver, Missourians would have no longer been able to use their driver’s license to board a commercial airplane or enter certain federal buildings or military bases starting in January. Instead, they would have had to provide a passport or some other form of federally approved ID.
“I am pleased DHS has recognized the state’s efforts on this issue,” said Joel Walters, director of the Missouri Department of Revenue, the state agency that oversees issuance of driver licenses. “With this extension, Missourians will not be inconvenienced while we continue our work to improve state-issued identification.”
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Congress passed the Real ID law in 2005 as part of the security response to the Sept. 11 attacks. It requires states to meet minimum requirements for driver’s licenses and other documents.
Among the requirements of the federal law that Missouri is not currently meeting: Documents used to obtain a driver’s license, such as a birth certificate or Social Security card, must be scanned and stored in a database.
Missouri lawmakers had long opposed putting the state into compliance with the federal law. The most strident opponents of the law said it was a major violation of Missourians’ privacy rights.
But after lengthy debate earlier this year, a compromise was struck: Those who wish to get a Real ID-compliant driver’s license can do so, while those with concerns about the Real ID law will be permitted to get a license that doesn’t comply with the federal regulations.
State officials have set a March 4, 2019, deadline to get Missouri’s license issuance system into full compliance with the REAL ID Act, meaning they will have to apply for another waiver sometime next year.