TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The state of New Jersey has been given a nine-month extension to have its drivers’ licenses meet national proof-of-identity requirements.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security last month extended the state’s exemption for Real ID requirements from Jan. 10 to Oct. 10, Motor Vehicle Commission spokeswoman Mairin Bellack said Monday.
Without the exemption, state-issued drivers’ licenses and non-driver IDs would not be accepted to get into most federal facilities, including military bases.
Bellack said the state had its exemption extended because it is taking steps to meet requirements of the Real ID act, including allowing more than nine characters of a name to be included and requiring people have their photos taken immediately upon reaching the counter to get a new license.
The 2005 Real ID act imposes tougher requirements for proof of legal U.S. residency in order for state driver’s licenses to be valid for federal purposes. The law was passed in response to national security concerns after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
States originally were supposed to comply with the Real ID requirements by the end of 2009. Federal authorities have repeatedly delayed implementation to give time for states to change their driver’s license procedures and make the necessary technological improvements.
At least five states were informed by Homeland Security last year that their extensions would not continue beyond Jan. 10.
The Homeland Security Department has said it plans to announce soon whether it will begin enforcing the Real ID requirements for airplane travel. The department has said that it will provide at least 120-day advance notice before barring people from flights who have driver’s licenses from states that are noncompliant or lack a waiver.
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