About Real ID
Beginning Dec. 1, 2014, a federal agency may not accept for official federal purposes a DL or ID not issued in compliance with the REAL ID Act. (See below for full explanation of implementation dates.) To assure Iowans can continue to use their DLs and ID cards for federal official purposes, the Iowa Department of Transportation will begin issuing cards with the compliant marking beginning Jan. 15, 2013.
States remain free to also issue noncomplying DL and IDs, so long as they can be clearly distinguished from a REAL ID-compliant card. The State of Iowa has elected to issue both REAL ID-compliant and noncomplying DL and ID cards. Therefore, current DL and ID card holders may choose whether to obtain a REAL ID-marked card. (Successful new applicants will automatically receive one as they are already required to present documents required for REAL ID verification.)
Dispelling the myths
- The REAL ID Act does not establish a national database of driver and identification information.
- The REAL ID-marked DL and ID cards do not contain an electronic chip that allows movements of individuals to be tracked.
Another untrue myth is that the REAL ID-marked DL and ID cards contain an electronic chip that allows movements of individuals to be tracked. There is no such chip/device in cards issued by the State of Iowa. Some U.S. border states offer an enhanced DL that includes passive vicinity radio frequency identification embedded in the card that meets federal requirements and facilitates rapid identification checks at the border. However, that technology is not required by the REAL ID Act and is not used in cards issued by Iowa. Iowa’s DLs and ID cards do have the required bar code printed on the back; that code requires manual scanning and only conveys the information appearing on the face of the DL or ID card, without the photo.
Definition of federal “official purposes”Federal official purposes are defined by the regulations as boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft, accessing federal facilities that require identification to enter, and entering nuclear power plants.
Phasing in of the law and staggered compliance datesThere is no reason to rush out to your nearest driver’s license station to get a REAL ID-marked card. The law is being phased in over several years and many people will be able to wait until their DL is up for renewal before applying for a REAL ID-marked card. People born after Dec. 1, 1964, must have a REAL ID-marked card by Dec. 1, 2014, to use it for federal official purposes. Those born on or before Dec. 1, 1964, will have until Dec. 1, 2017.
Appearance of a REAL ID-marked cardThe law applies to all types of DLs and ID cards issued by the state. Because Iowa already produces cards that met the REAL ID Act’s security standards, there will be almost no material differences between standard Iowa DL and ID cards and the REAL ID-marked cards. They will be made of the same materials; offer the same security features designed to prevent tampering, counterfeiting or duplication; contain the same information; and have the same general appearance. The only significant physical difference will be a star verification mark on the front of the card in the upper, right-hand corner of a REAL ID-marked card.
Using your existing DL or ID card or electing to apply for a REAL ID-marked cardEven after the individual compliance deadlines, valid Iowa DL and ID cards not marked as REAL ID compliant can be used for purposes other than "federal official purposes."
Because first-time/new applicants are required to present documents proving their identity (the same ones that are required by the REAL ID Act), these individuals will automatically be issued a REAL ID-marked DL or ID card when their application is approved.
Current DL or ID card holders will need to decide whether they want to apply for a REAL ID-marked card. Generally, that decision is based on whether the cardholder plans to use their DL or ID card as identification to board a commercial aircraft, access a federal building that requires identification to enter, or enter a nuclear power plant. If you have a valid U.S. passport or other acceptable forms of federal identification, you can use it for identification, rather than a REAL ID-marked DL or ID card. (A list of Transportation Safety Administration approved documents is available on the TSA’s website: www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/acceptable-ids.) If you elect not to get a REAL ID-marked card; then change your mind, you can still apply for one at a later time.
What has changed and how to obtain a REAL ID-marked card
The purpose of providing documentation is to verify that you are indeed the person you claim to be, which enhances national security, and prevents fraud and identity theft. Required documents provide proof of identity; date of birth; Social Security number; Iowa residence; and lawful status or presence in the United States.
To assist Iowans gather the necessary documents, there is a list of acceptable documents available on the Internet (Proof of Identity), or you can call 800-532-1121 to listen to a recorded message.
Remember, you have until your individual compliance date to apply for a REAL ID-marked card. There is no rush; most people can wait until their regularly scheduled renewal visit.
Once you have a REAL ID-marked card, you will not have to provide proof of identity again. However, a person that is a foreign national with temporary lawful status must provide proof of lawful status at each renewal.
If your compliance date is approaching and your DL is not scheduled to expire before that date, then you may request a duplicate card. You must present the proper identification noted above.
Identification cards generally do not contain an expiration date, unless you are temporarily authorized to be in the United States. So, ID card holders must to go to a driver’s license issuance site at their convenience before the compliance deadline to get a REAL ID-marked card if needed for federal official purposes.
There are no additional knowledge or drive tests required to get a REAL ID-marked card. There are no additional fees. Cards will be valid for the standard lengths of time. If you are a person who is a foreign national with temporary status, your card will say “limited term” and be valid for the period of your lawful stay in the United States, not to exceed two years. If your lawful stay has no defined end or expiration date, it will be valid for no longer than one year.Once your application for a REAL ID-marked DL or ID card is approved, you will be issued a temporary paper card. The plastic card will be mailed to you, typically within 10 days.
Additional documents are required if your name has changed
If your name is different than the one shown on your birth certificate or other document used to establish identity and date of birth, you must complete an affidavit of name change, which is an electronic form completed while you are at the driver’s license issuance site. You must also provide certified copies of the legal documents that connect the name on the document used to establish identity and date of birth to your current name. Acceptable documents are listed on the REAL ID website.