One third of motorists in Wisconsin are getting REAL ID licensesAbout a third of Wisconsin motorists are getting a driver's license with additional security features required under REAL ID.
By: By Shamane Mills, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
About a third of Wisconsin motorists are getting a driver's license with additional security features required under REAL ID.
Congress passed the REAL ID law in 2005 after Sept. 11, but fewer than half the states are complying.
The author of REAL ID is U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis. As recently as last December he complained that the Department of Homeland Security was moving too slowly to implement the law: So far only 19 states are in compliance.
Wisconsin is one of them and since January has been offering REAL ID driver's licenses to those who want it. The cost is the same, says Kristina Boardman, deputy administrator for the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), although documentation is more stringent than for those just renewing a driver's license.
“If you are not a U.S. citizen, we check your legal status with the Department of Homeland Security,” says Boardman. “If you provide a U.S. passport, we are running that passport number against the State Department.”
The REAL ID driver's license looks like a regular Wisconsin driver's license with one exception: There's a gold star in the upper right hand corner. Boardman says more than 30 percent of DMV customers are requesting a REAL ID.
“One thing that we've found that customers have been having trouble with lately is women who have changed their name,” says Boardman. If one has a passport in their married name, that counts as legal presence and you don't otherwise need to bring in a birth certificate.”
REAL ID may eventually be needed to board commercial airlines and enter federal buildings. Many states object to the cost and bureaucracy; some, like Maine and Utah, passed resolutions against REAL ID. Since 2005, Boardman says Wisconsin has spent about $20 million on REAL ID, about half of which was state money.