BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The REAL ID Act went into effect as a security measure after the September 11 attacks.
The two main places people need to show the compliant ID is at the airport and in federal buildings.
Federal law requires each state to become compliant by 2020. This measure includes adults and children. While legal drivers can get a REAL ID compliant driver's license, children can get a compliant state ID.
Louisiana has been compliant since October 2016. State lawmakers wanted to roll this option out years ahead of the deadline, so people would not be rushed to get one.
Currently, Louisianians can use a non-REAL ID compliant driver's license to fly domestically or enter federal buildings. That will change in October 2020. After that point, residents may be required to carry more identification, like a passport, to identify themselves properly if they do not have a REAL ID.
Residents are not required to get a REAL ID compliant driver's license. It is an option.
Security and transportation officials encourage residents to get one in case they will ever need to fly or enter a federal building.
"It cannot hurt to get a REAL ID," said Karen St. Germain, the Commissioner of the Louisiana OMV. "It costs you no more and it's just there if you need it for vacation. You want to walk into the White House, or you want to walk into one of the government buildings or the federal building here in Baton Rouge, you may need it in 2020."
St. Germain said about 155,000 Louisianians currently have a REAL ID compliant license.
The cost for a compliant ID is the same as a non-compliant license.
Those interested in obtaining a REAL ID must go to the OMV in person to apply.
Required documents include:
- current identification like a driver's license, state ID, passport with your current address, or voter registration card
- original or certified birth certificate
- Social Security card or W2 form
- two different documents that show proof of your current address (ex. utility bill, credit card bill)
When you apply for a REAL ID and provide all of this documentation, this information will only be entered into the OMV database.
"I think people misunderstand that us keeping the information on hand is scary. I guess that is the best way to describe how people feel [about] what's happening to this documentation. But OMV's database is OMV's database. It does not get sent anywhere else," explained St. Germain. "We're under federal DPPA rules. Your privacy is your privacy. We respect that. I understand it."