The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits federal agencies from accepting, for certain purposes, driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.

In 2008, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published the Minimum Standards for Driver's Licenses and Identification Cards Acceptable by Federal Agencies for Official Purposes; Final Rule. The final rule establishes standards to meet the minimum requirements of the REAL ID Act of 2005. These standards involve a number of aspects of the process used to issue identification documents, including:

  • Information and security features that must be incorporated into each card
  • Application information to establish the identity and immigration status of an applicant before a card can be issued
  • Physical security standards for facilities where driver’s licenses and applicable identification cards are produced 
For more information and official documentation, please visit the DHS website.

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