Arrival and Departure: Louisiana granted REAL ID compliance

By KiEricka Hart


You have until October 10 2016 to get a passport if you want to take a flight or enter a federal building. The REAL ID Act of 2005 is finally being enforced, which requires citizens to have federally approved identification to board a domestic flight, gain access to a courthouse, military base or other government facilities. Louisiana has been granted an extension to comply with federal guidelines for the REAL ID Act. According to the Department of Homeland Securities (DHS) website, Louisiana is one of the state’s listed as, “(having) an extension, allowing Federal agencies to accept driver’s licenses from these states until October 10, 2016.” The extension allots more time for the public to obtain federally approved Identification, such as a passport, or for state authorities to revamp Louisiana’s driver’s license and state id process.

Under the guidelines outlined in the REAL ID act states are required to verify that an applicant is in the country legally and the ID is embedded with passport-type data. Louisiana does not currently meet these standards. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal vetoed a bill that would have allowed citizens to obtain an enhanced license if they wanted one. Jindal does not support the REAL ID Act because of the information believed to be stored on the enhanced licenses. Supporters of Jindal’s decision say the REAL ID card violates privacy rights through the use of a chip that’s embedded to essentially track you. According to Rep. Pat Connick of Marrero, “Information can be scanned, it can be downloaded and your whereabouts can be tracked no matter what.”

The REAL ID Act was passed by congress in 2005 following the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The act sets minimum-security standards for obtaining a driver’s license or state id. The act prohibits Federal agencies from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards from states that are not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.

To obtain a passport in Louisiana be prepared to shell out around $110 for first-time passport holders. According to the Orleans and Lafayette parish clerk of court websites, “The fee for a renewal routine delivery (4-6 weeks) adult Passport Book is $110. The fee for a renewal routine delivery (4-6 weeks) adult Passport Card is $30.00.” For more information on the required documents, fee assessment and paperwork to get a passport visit www.passportinfoguide.com and search your city of residence.

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