FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 19, 2015) – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has granted Kentucky a one-year extension for meeting requirements of the stringent new identification security law known as REAL ID – meaning a Kentucky driver’s license is still sufficient for gaining access to the vast majority of federal installations.
The extension runs through Oct. 10, 2016, and is renewable. Without the extension, those with a Kentucky driver’s license would have had to produce another form of identification, such as a birth certificate or U.S. passport, for access to federal properties.
The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 in response to the 9/11 Commission, which recommended that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”
The federal act sets minimum standards for production and issuance of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. It also prohibits federal agencies from accepting for official uses driver’s licenses and IDs from “noncompliant” states. By virtue of being granted an extension, Kentucky is not considered out of compliance at the present time.
“We are pleased to have been granted this extension,” said Rodney Kuhl, commissioner of the Department of Vehicle Regulation within the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC). “The Department of Homeland Security recognizes the progress we have made and our commitment to completing the process.”
Complying with REAL ID is more complicated for Kentucky than for most other states – in part because driver’s licenses are issued by circuit court clerks, not by a department of motor vehicles. Licenses are issued at 141 clerk offices and branches around Kentucky – all of which would have to meet a greatly enhanced security standard. A security assessment of circuit clerk offices is in process.
The Kentucky driver’s license itself is not the issue. Since 2012, Kentucky has issued a redesigned license and ID card that include state-of-the-art security features designed to protect against counterfeiting, illegal alteration and other tampering. Safeguards include fine-line printing, digital watermarking, a hologram and dual-side lamination.
In notifying Commissioner Kuhl of the extension, the Department of Homeland Security said it “recognizes your efforts in enhancing the security of your jurisdiction’s driver’s licenses and identification cards.”