West Virginia seeks compliance with Real ID

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August 28, 2012

West Virginia

By Phil Sletten

CHARLESTON, West Virginia: West Virginia drivers will have to show more documentation to prove their eligibility for a drivers' license as the state ramps up its screening to comply with the federal Real ID Act, according to the state Division of Motor Vehicles. The Real ID Act seeks to create standardized requirements across the states so that airport and security officials can rely on state drivers' licenses as usable identification. West Virginia and two bordering states, Maryland and Ohio, are complying with the new regulations, but two other bordering states, Pennsylvania and Virginia, are refusing to participate.[1]

The state made the decision to comply shortly after the 2005 law was passed. The Division of Motor Vehicles now requires that a citizen applying for a drivers' license must have a passport, a Social Security card (with exceptions if other tax documentation is provided), and two separate proofs of residency.[2]

The new policies will allow all of the state's drivers to have new licenses without making a special trip to get compliance identification. Federal law requires that states comply by 2017, and West Virginians have to renew their drivers' licenses every five years. However, once all of the licenses are in compliance, the Division of Motor Vehicles is considering making a push in the legislature for eight-year-renewal periods as a cost-saving measure.[3]

Some states have actively resisted complying with Real ID. Virginia has only complied with 10 of the 39 benchmarks laid out in the legislation, despite being one of the states that granted identification to one of the hijackers that carried out the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington. In West Virginia, State Senator Clark Barnes (R) made an attempt to stop Real ID's implementation in 2008, but the bill stalled in the West Virginia House of Delegates.[4]

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