Real ID in Alaska: Where are we now?

Alaska rolled out updated driver’s license and ID cards in June 2014. They are not REAL ID-compliant. (Courtesy Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles)

The Real ID act has been around for more than a decade, but some of its significant deadlines are just now bearing down on Alaskans. They include your ability to enter federal facilities and military bases by this June, and by next January, your ability to fly on commercial aircraft.

The Real ID act became law in 2005 and sets standards for state driver’s licenses and identity documents to make them acceptable to the federal government for “official purposes.” The Secretary of Homeland Security decides what those official purposes are.

The law has four phases, but it is phase four, upon us now, that requires the compliant Real ID to enter federal facilities and to fly commercially.

Are you ready for this? What do you need to know? And what do you need to do?

That’s the topic of our next Hometown Alaska. We’ll bring you up to speed on two bills submitted by Governor Bill Walker to bring Alaska into compliance with Real ID. Significantly, the bills let Alaskans choose a compliant or a non-complaint driver’s license or ID card, and they repeal a 2008 Alaska statute that made it illegal to spend any state money to implement Real ID.

Tensions around Real ID persist. Critics worry that it is a privacy-violating national ID card system and that a new database will make personal information more easy to hack. Immigration advocates argue the law’s requirements will make it harder for legal asylum seekers to achieve safe haven in the U.S. Others say the act is an unfunded federal mandate that will cost the states millions. And then there is the concern that it will lead to more expense and inconvenience for citizens.

Proponents argue that the act is necessary to prevent issuing fraudulent driver’s licenses or ID cards, leading to more safety for the American public.

What do you think? Find out what’s happening. Bring your questions and concerns.



HOST: Kathleen McCoy


  • Marla Thompson, director, Alaska DMV
  • Amy Johnson, deputy director, Alaska DMV



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LIVE BROADCAST: Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Alaska time)

REPEAT BROADCAST: Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. (Alaska time)

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