House Passes Bipartisan REAL ID Driver's License Bill for FAS Citizens in USA
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-Guam) announced that the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the “REAL ID Act Modification for Freely Associated States Act” (H.R.3398). Congresswoman Bordallo cosponsored this bipartisan bill, introduced by Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska). H.R.3398 is supported by the Ambassadors from the Freely Associated States (FAS). The U.S. Senate passed similar legislation in 2014 and 2016.
H.R.3398 would allow citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau to apply for REAL ID Act-compliant driver’s licenses issued by U.S. jurisdictions, including the 50 states, the 5 U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Specifically, the bill would allow U.S. jurisdictions to accept an FAS passport as a valid form of identification for proving lawful residence in the United States when applying for a REAL ID Act-compliant driver’s license or personal identification card. H.R.3398 would only apply to FAS citizens residing lawfully in the United States under the terms of the Compacts of Free Association. The bill does not alter the current status of Compact migrants.
The REAL ID Act of 2005 sets minimum security standards for licenses issued by U.S. jurisdictions in order to be accepted for federal purposes, such as accessing secure federal buildings, admission to military installations, or boarding commercial airline flights. As of January 22, 2018, all U.S. jurisdictions including the five territories are required to meet the REAL ID Act’s minimum security standards, including proof of citizenship or lawful residence in the United States, when issuing driver’s licenses and other forms of personal identification. The law does not prohibit U.S. jurisdictions from continuing to issue non-compliant driver’s licenses or identification cards, including to foreign nationals or undocumented immigrants.
Congresswoman Bordallo requested assistance for GovGuam to come into REAL ID Act compliance and requested an extension for Guam, which the U.S. Department of Homeland Security granted in 2016. Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands are exempted until October 10, 2018. American Samoa was issued an exemption until October 10, 2019. Hawaii-issued licenses are fully compliant with the REAL ID Act. GovGuam continues to work with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to come into full compliance with the Real ID Act.
“I strongly support the REAL ID Act modification for FAS citizens passed unanimously by the House late Wednesday evening. FAS citizens residing lawfully in the United States, including our neighbors living in Guam, should not be denied the ability to apply for REAL ID Act-compliant licenses,” said Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-Guam).
“I applaud my friend Congressman Young for his leadership on this important issue for the FAS community. I urge my Senate colleagues to also take up and pass this important bill so it may be signed into law,” added Congresswoman Bordallo (D-Guam).