Immigration FAQs

The Real ID Act of 2005

Sweeping immigration-related legislation was recently signed into law that will affect citizens, lawful permanent residents, lawful nonimmigrants and illegal aliens. The legislation, entitled the Real ID Act of 2005, will require proof of United States Citizenship or lawful immigrant or nonimmigrant status in order to obtain a state-issued license. This includes licenses to show as identification to board federally regulated commercial aircrafts.

When does this legislation take effect?

The provisions become effective three (3) years after the date of enactment.

Must states agree to the provisions of the Real ID Act of 2005?

States do not have to abide by the terms of the Act but will have to use indicators on the licenses they issue that clearly state that the identification cannot be accepted by federal agencies.

Who will be eligible to obtain a license that conforms to federal standards?

United States Citizens, nationals, aliens lawfully admitted for permanent or temporary residence, conditional permanent residents, asylees and refugees may receive a license. Certain individuals, including those with a valid unexpired nonimmigrant visa or visa status, a pending application for permanent residence, a pending or approved application for temporary protected status, approved deferred action status or a pending application for permanent residence or conditional permanent residence, may only receive a temporary license.

How long will the temporary license be valid for?

The temporary license will be valid for the authorized period of stay. If a person does not have an expiration date on their authorized period of stay the temporary license validity shall not exceed one (1) year.

Would a person still be permitted to use a foreign passport as identification to board a commercial plane?

Yes. The use of foreign passports would still be acceptable as identification to to board federally regulated commercial airplanes.

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.