Barely a year into Florida's enforcement of the federal Real ID Act of 2005, an act that requires multiple pieces of identification to renew or obtain an original driver's license or state identification card, the law continues to confuse people.
In response to the 9-11 terrorist attacks that killed more than 5,000 people at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and on a hijacked airliner that crashed in southwestern Pennsylvania, Congress passed The REAL ID Act of 2005.
Signed into law by President George W. Bush on May 11, 2005, federal officials attempted to ensure the goal of "one person, one license," and focused on driver licenses and state identification cards after learning that the hijackers had multiple ID's from several states.
Requirements under The REAL ID Act have caught people off guard as the former method of renewing a license seldom required more than an eye test and renewal fee. More often than not, license holders were able to renew by mail or online. Under the new law, a one-time online renewal is allowed if this option was not previously utilized.
Documentation now required under The REAL ID Act as proof of identity include a state-issued (not hospital) birth certificate, valid passport, naturalization document, or consular proof of birth abroad. All documents must be original or certified from the source. Non-U.S. residents must provide proof of status within the country.
For proof of a Social Security number, an original Social Security card, W-2 or 1099 form, or recent paycheck can be provided.
For proof of home address, two documents indicating the address, including a mortgage deed, utility bill, voter registration card, insurance card, W-2 or 1099 form, or bank statement can be provided.
For proof of legal name change, an original or certified copy of a marriage certificate (not church issued) or court order showing name change can be provided.
Without exception, all qualifying documents must be presented to renew or obtain a driver license or state identification card. Under limited circumstances, a temporary permit can be issued while gathering required documents.
Supporters of The REAL ID Act claim that the new documentation requirements add security to driver license and state identification holders as they will not be able to board an aircraft or enter federal buildings without a Real ID-compliant license or identification card starting in 2014.
Critics of The REAL ID Act claim the new law will weaken security of personal information by placing it in a national data base subject to access nationwide.
While The REAL ID Act of 2005 is currently the law in Florida and a dozen other states, opposition is building in Congress to repeal it. Although in the minority as approximately 37 states have prohibited implementation of the new law, compliance is now a must here in the Sunshine state.
For more information or to create a personal checklist of required documents to renew or obtain a Florida driver license or state identification card, please visit http://www.gathergoget.com/online.
To determine whether a one-time only online renewal will be allowed, please visit http://www.gorenew.com.
Source: The Credit Report with Bill Lewis - Highlands Today, an edition of the Tampa Tribune - Media General Group http://www2.highlandstoday.com/content/2011/jan/23/drivers-license-renewal-and-real-id-act/columns-welewisjr
To review Bill Lewis' entire consumer protection series at the Highlands Today, visit www.williamlewis.us.
William E. Lewis Jr. & Associates is a solutions based professional consulting firm specializing in the discriminating individual, business or governmental entity. To learn more, tune into "The Credit Report with Bill Lewis," a daily forum for business and financial news, politics, economic trends, and cutting edge issues on AM 1470 WWNN.