I have known about the REAL ID program for some time. Passed by Congress in 2005, it requires that “the Federal Government ‘set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses'” in the wake of 9/11.
“The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards.”
With my card expiring on my last birthday, I looked on the NYS DMV page. Boy, they wanted a LOT for a REAL ID!
*Proof of identity, such as valid license, birth certificate or passport…
*Proof of Social Security Number (or Social Security Number ineligibility)
*Proof of your date of birth
*Proof of U.S. citizenship, lawful permanent residency or temporary lawful status in the U.S.
*Two different proofs of New York State residence such as utility bill, bank statement or mortgage statement
I brought all sorts of documents, including my phone bill, my bank statement, a credit card bill, and who knows what else that was lying around, but it took me an hour to gather it all because so much of what I pay is online and automatic.
Terrible stories about the DMV abound, so I had blocked out four hours for the task. I went to the first person, who was the gatekeeper. She sent me to a counter, and the clerk looked at all my documents but decided she needed only three: my current DMV card, my passport (still current), and my most recent W-2 tax form.
She sent me to another counter where that clerk verified the info. I got the picture taken, she wished me “Happy birthday,” and I was out of there in about 20 minutes total. Way too easy, for a change.
Doesn’t REAL ID, all in CAPS, seem vaguely Freudian?
The card came two weeks later. An odd thing is that it’s black and white, which is more difficult to forge, I take it? Moreover, my glasses look as though someone drew them in with a Sharpie. And I’ll have it for eight years.
I got the ENHANCED version, which cost $30 more, so when I get deported to Mexico, I can come back. Seriously, it DOES allow one to “cross a U.S. border coming from Canada, Mexico, and some Caribbean countries.”
The ZIP Code 12345, as shown in this sample, BTW, is the actual code for General Electric in Schenectady, NY.