BTC - Several northeastern States are currently on the path of "self certification" or a State's certification process of compliance with the Real ID benchmark process. Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Vermont, and Connecticut have all expressed intent to comply with Real ID regulations.
State certification is an interrim process for States to begin compliance with Real ID regulations. 12 states responded to an initial call for compliance certification in 2008. The process involves several letters of approval, issued by a combination of State officials, the State Attorney General's office and consent of a State's Governor.
Federal funding to support State costs for Real ID certification initiatives was recently reinstated. The National Conference of State Legislatures [NCSL] received a grant notice today for $45 million in Real ID appropriations. State governments and licensing divisions who accept grants may buy into more biometric technology upgrades for licenses and to build database infrastructure. DHS had previously omitted federal appropriations for Real ID in March, 2011.
The complicated process of national Real ID compliance is now encumbered by 25 States, who issued bans to the costs, policies and regulations. Efforts to mitigate federal standards in states like California, who recently upgraded local licenses for federal acceptance by the TSA, allow license applicants to opt-out of a national or federal ID card. According to Molly Ramsdell at NCSL, states expecting to be certified by the next DHS deadline, will bring license holders into federal compliance, even if they opted out of the process originally.
|Gold Starred Real ID "self certified" license|
States engaged in the certification process may issue ID cards featuring a gold star, indicating the license is headed for DHS approval by the next deadline. To date, no State has been officially certified or deemed materially compliant with Real ID regulations due DHS extension of the deadlines until January 15, 2013.