The REAL ID Act – Passed by the U.S. Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act set a standard for how driver’s licenses and other types of identification cards were to be issued. The goal of the Act was to heighten the level of security needed to enter federal facilities, nuclear power plants, and federally regulated commercial aircraft.

How Does the REAL ID Act Affect Immigration?

Since the REAL ID Act’s purpose was to create standards for the issuance of state-issued government identification, when a nonimmigrant applies for a driver’s license in their state of residence, their driver’s license will be set to expire at the same that their period of authorized stay in the United States. If the nonimmigrant does not have a set period of authorized stay due to their visa status, their driver’s license will be issued with a one-year expiration date.

Why is this Act Important?

By 2020, only identification that is compliant with the standards of the Act will be accepted by airlines, so it is important for individuals to keep acceptable identification with them at all times. If an individual does not have identification that is compliant with the Act, they should carry a valid passport issued by their foreign government. Individuals who are unlawfully present or who have fallen out of status while in the U.S. may not be eligible to apply for a driver’s license under the REAL ID Act.

Consider setting up a consultation with an immigration lawyer at Gilles Law, PLLC. You can reach us at 980-272-8438 at our office in Uptown Charlotte. We are here to assist with your inquiries.

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