OLYMPIA – Washington state has been granted another temporary extension from the enforcement of federal requirements for state driver’s licenses and ID cards.
The federal government informed the state last week that it would receive the extension through Oct. 10, at which point the state will be reconsidered for another extension from enforcement of the law. The federal law requires state driver’s licenses and ID cards to have security enhancements and to be issued to people who can prove they are legally in the United States. It was passed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to strengthen rules for identification needed at airports and federal facilities.
Washington state lawmakers passed a measure this year creating a two-tiered licensing system that was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee last month.
Washington state already offers, but does not mandate, enhanced driver’s licenses and IDs that require proof of U.S. citizenship and are valid under the federal law. Starting in July 2018, the state’s standard licenses – which aren’t in line with the federal requirements – will be marked to indicate they are not REAL ID compliant and thus not acceptable for certain purposes by federal authorities.
Residents will have a choice of which license they want. Those with the non-compliant licenses will eventually need additional documentation – such as a passport, permanent resident card or military ID – to board domestic commercial flights and for other federal purposes.
Washington was among several states that were scrambling to address this issue this, concerned about the possibility of residents needing additional documentation sooner, based on a January 2018 deadline for boarding flights that the federal government had sent for states not in compliance and without extensions.