What is a Real ID Identification Card?
When considering what constitutes a Real ID identification card, one might conjure up images of being required to fly domestically or access federal buildings. A Real ID is actually a state-issued driver’s license or non-driver ID which has been verified as compliant with federal requirements by its issuing agency. The original deadline to get one was October 2020 but due to COVID-19 pandemic delays was postponed until May 2025 –
Real ID documents are intended to protect identity and deter fraud and theft. This can be accomplished by verifying the name and date of birth listed on them against government systems; additionally, this ensures that information matched on both documents correspond to each other as well as ensured they have a gold star on them.
Why does it prove so challenging for migrants to obtain Real ID documents? One primary reason is that most states only issue these documents to U.S. citizens and people eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS), thus making obtaining one difficult. In particular, homeless or recently released prisoners may find difficulty providing sufficient proof of their identities to prove them legally.
As the required documents can take time and money to secure, this process may prove time-consuming and expensive for those in need of state IDs. Furthermore, delays caused by this can prevent individuals from starting jobs or engaging in community activities as soon as they want. It can become an additional burden in times of hardship.