Immigrants Face Unique Issues in Getting a Real ID

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Immigrants Face Unique Issues in Getting a Real ID

The Real ID Act of 2005 will soon make it mandatory to have a REAL ID-compliant form of identification for “official purposes,” such as air travel and entering federal buildings, including courthouses. While the deadline for requiring REAL IDs has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fact is they will soon become necessary for many people. 

The strict documentation required for obtaining a REAL ID can present challenges for many immigrants. The attorneys at Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC, understand how intimidating and frustrating these requirements can be, and we want to help. Here we’ll provide information on the REAL ID requirements and how they may impact some immigrants. If you have an outstanding immigration or deportation issue that may prevent you from obtaining state identification, contact our office today to request a consultation.

Requirements for Getting a REAL ID

Each state will continue to issue driver’s licenses and identification cards through their own agencies – in Indiana, it’s the BMV, and in Illinois, it’s the Secretary of State’s office. For this reason, the exact documents accepted will vary by state, but all state will require the following:

  • Full Legal Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Two Proofs of Address 
  • Lawful Status

Even for non-immigrants, the documents needed to verify these items can be tough to locate. It would be wise to take advantage of the extended deadline to begin tracking down these documents right away – even if you are naturalized or a lawful permanent resident.

Can Non-Citizens or Undocumented Immigrants Obtain a REAL ID?

Currently, 14 states allow undocumented immigrants to get a state-issued driver’s license or ID card. Under the REAL ID requirements, compliant states will still be allowed to issue these documents to non-citizens. However, they will not be considered compliant for official purposes. For those without documentation of legal presence who may face a court appearance, enforcement of the current REAL ID standards could create serious problems.

Possible Challenges to Getting A REAL ID

Unfortunately, even naturalized citizens and immigrants who reside in the U.S. legally may face hurdles when seeking a compliant ID. In some states, a passport may be the easiest way to obtain a REAL ID, but they can be costly to procure. In addition, this requires either a birth certificate or Consular Report of Foreign Birth, which some immigrants may not possess.

The requirements for proof of residence will also create problems for many immigrants. Those who live with family or friends, for example, or married a U.S. citizen, may have difficulty proving their address. And for immigrants without a stable home, it may be impossible to produce the documents needed to obtain a REAL ID. 

For those who cannot meet the requirements, a non-compliant ID may still be available. However, these IDs will be clearly marked as non-compliant, which many fear will appear as an indicator of undocumented status, even though legal residents may choose a non-compliant ID for other reasons.

We Help Immigrants Secure Their Future

The concern over REAL IDs is just one of many ways that immigrants can be impacted differently than other citizens. The immigration lawyers at Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC, have spent decades helping immigrants navigate complex legal challenges and successfully resolve issues related to their residency or status. If you or a loved one are facing an immigration or removal case, contact our office today to schedule a consultation and learn how we may be able to assist you.