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Alaska — once again — is saved by the bell.
Or, in this case, an extension.
Alaska’s deadline for complying with REAL ID has been extended by the federal government to Oct. 10, 2018. The previous extension expired Oct. 10 of this year.
Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005, which enacted the 9/11 Commission’s suggestion that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”
This required states to comply with standards designed to better verify identities of applicants for driver’s licenses and identification cards.
If Alaska hadn’t received an extension, Alaskans would have had to use another federally accepted form of identification when traveling or visiting a variety of federal facilities. For example, a passport would have sufficed for airline travel.
While Alaskans may continue to use state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards for an additional 12 months, the act requires that all states be REAL ID compliant by Oct. 1, 2020.
Alaska is scheduled to be able to provide REAL ID-compliant cards by January 2019. Of course, a passport suffices, and it qualifies as appropriate identification before and after REAL ID takes effect in the state.
The pressure is off Alaskans when it comes to complying with REAL ID — at least for a while.