The mandate for authenticated identify documents came after 9/11 – 20 years ago.
Some states, like mine, took their time or refused to implement Real ID. Congress then kept moving the deadline for compliance further into the future. They finally announced plans to implement Real ID, coinciding with the pandemic and the shut down of the state’s licensing offices.
Driver’s licenses were automatically extended (but only for use within the state). The offices eventually re-opened by appointment only. I was able to get an appointment a few days past my DL’s expiration date and received a Real ID compliant DL.
Today, my wife went to the Department of Licensing online appointment scheduler to set up renewing her DL with a Real ID compliant license.
She tells me the DoL now will not issue you a Real ID compliant license if you already have a passport. Instead, she can only apply for an online renewal, non-compliant DL.
The DoL has also dropped the eye exam for most people and dropped taking the written exam. They’ve ended exams for people licensed in other states who are moving in to the state.
This begs the question: Why did we have these superfluous regulations if they were – apparently – never needed?
Oh, and the requirement to have Real ID has now been extended – again – to May of 2023. It will likely have taken a quarter of a century to implement Real ID – a testament to the bureaucracy and inefficiency of government.