A federal law aimed at thwarting terrorists and discouraging illegal immigration could double the cost of obtaining a driver’s license in some states and permanently end the renewal of a license by mail, according to a USA Today
The Real ID Act, which was approved by Congress last May and scheduled to take effect in May 2008, requires people seeking a license to prove that they are in the United States legally by providing proof of a social security number or why they don’t have one, plus documents bearing their name, address and birth date.
Many states are taking issue with the Act, asking how will they will verify records of people whose birthplaces no longer exist, how states, required to share information through a database, can prevent identity theft, and how much the new rule will cost.
Congress has appropriated $40 million to the states to comply with the act. In addition, Kentucky and New Hampshire have received $3 million each for pilot projects, however, state officials estimate that annual costs for the new program could reach tens of millions of dollars.
Residents of states that don’t comply with the law will not be able to use their licenses for official federal purposes such as boarding a plane or entering a federal courthouse. Presently, only 10 states don’t require proof that an applicant is legally in the U.S. in order to drive.