DHS: Guam’s federal Real ID extension ends

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Real ID "public" icon. Source: U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security.

Guam – According to a notification on the Department of Homeland Security website, time has run out for federal agencies to entertain Guam driver’s licenses and Guam ID’s as acceptable forms of identification here on island. But for some local residents with federally compliant local identity cards already in hand, that might not be a problem.

Guam’s Department of Revenue and Taxation began implementing the Real ID system a year and a half ago, but some driver’s licenses have yet to expire since Rev & Tax’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles began upgrading its licensing system for compliance with federal Real ID requirements.

Furthermore, TSgt Jake Bareirro of Andersen Air Force Base Media Operations told PNC on Friday that any approved form of official government Real ID is acceptable to get on base. That includes current US passports, US Green Cards, and Guam Real ID’s, he said.

“Guam has an extension for REAL ID enforcement, allowing Federal agencies to accept driver’s licenses and identification cards from Guam at Federal facilities, nuclear power plants and federally regulated commercial aircraft until January 10, 2019,” the DHS online statement reads. Today is January 11.

“Secure driver’s licenses and identification documents are a vital component of a holistic national security strategy. Law enforcement must be able to rely on government-issued identification documents and know that the bearer of such a document is who he or she claims to be. REAL ID is a coordinated effort by the states and the Federal Government to improve the reliability and accuracy of state-issued identification documents, which should inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification,” the statement  says.

According to a description of the federal government’s Real ID program, “The REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.”

As PNC reported in June of 2016, the Department of Revenue and Taxation was already implementing changes to the Guam Driver;s License and Guam Identification card systems as part of a national security requirement to be compliant with the Real ID Act.

With the new changes comes longer processing times. Marie Benito, the Rev & Tax Deputy Director at the time, then told Newstalk K57’s Mornings with Patti Arroyo radio show that what had once taken 10 to 15 minutes to process an applicant could take twice as long.

Benito explained that the new cards have many security features including bar scans on their backsides that will only feature information that is already available on the front of the ID.

“The new driver’s license security features are awesome,” Benito told K57 18 months ago. “We have the ghost image on the right hand side, the Guam Seal that is clear–you can see right through it. There’s another feature and this will be all compliant with the Real ID.”
Guam had until October 2018 to be fully compliant with the Real ID Act, but the U.S. Department of Homeland Security acknowledged the extension through January 10, 2019 on their website.
However, Benito told K57 in 2016 that residents would not be required to renew until their Guam Driver’s Licenses or Guam ID’s expire.