Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - Starting in October of 2020, the REAL ID Act will be implemented across the United States. From that point forward, standard issued licenses will not be able to get those that carry them across the Canadian border or on a domestic flight.
Congress recently passed legislation to make federally issued licenses available, they're called "REAL ID's." They are very similar to enhanced licenses, they both get people across the border, onto flights within the U.S. and into federal buildings but enhanced licenses are only available to U.S. citizens. REAL ID's are available to non-citizens who are in the U.S. and can prove lawful status.
"After 9-11 the federal government wanted all states to comply to a standard identification," Erie County Clerk, Michael Kearns.
Since they will be federally issued, they offer increased national security because they are much harder to recreate.
"This will be accessible through a federal database, depending on what state you’re in they’ll be able to check and verify their status whether it’s New York state or another state, it’s a good thing it’s gonna be a positive thing for the safety of the citizens," Kearns said.
Some states, like New York, have already made REAL ID's available to the public. But others, such as states like California, have been granted an extension. They have until 2020 to comply with the REAL ID Act.
"They may have some issues dealing with documentation, there's a lot of heavy immigration in those western states so that could be an issue," Kearns said.
REAL ID's cost the same as enhanced licenses, $30; people can apply at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
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