Dear Mahatma: I went to the big Revenue Office on Seventh Street to get one of the new Real ID driver's licenses so I can get on an airplane. As proof of residency I provided a letter from the Transportation Security Administration confirming my acceptance into the pre-check program. The letter included my address. The nice Revenue folks said the TSA letter was not proof of residency. Does this make sense? -- Solid Citizen
Dear Solid: The world is complicated; most of it makes no sense.
First, some background. Congress, in its wisdom, passed the "Real ID Act of 2005." It requires that anyone who goes into a federal facility or boards a domestic flight after Oct. 1, 2020, must have a Real ID driver's license or a plain old driver's license and additional forms of identification, such as a passport.
(Ask us someday about Mexico and our mustache. Mustache? What mustache?)
All this, as we know, has to do with safety and security. Sept. 11, 2001, was a long time ago. Or was it? Seems like yesterday in our mind.
Seeking sense about the Revenue Office and the TSA letter, we asked the Department of Finance and Administration, in the form of its spokesman, Scott Hardin.
What's up with that, O Wise One?
He said the Real ID is a federal requirement which the states must implement, and so DF&A worked with the federal government to determine which documents could be accepted as proof of residency. A TSA letter such as this one is not on that list.
What is on that list?
Lots of things. On the primary list of documents are passport and birth certificate, plus others. The secondary list includes a current driver's license, armed forces discharge papers, concealed handgun license, pilot's license, prison release document (!), and several others.
Nowhere can be found a friendly letter from the Transportation Security Administration. Drat.
For a full list of documents, and for the answers to many questions regarding the Real ID, go to the driver services section www.dfa.arkansas.gov. Read this before going to one of the regional offices that issue the Real ID.
Not every Revenue Office does the Real ID, which requires special technology and training. Twenty-five regional offices do. Check first. Adding more offices is not currently under consideration, Hardin said.
All this talk about driver's licenses got us to thinking. How many licenses does the state currently have out there?
A total of 2,150,731, of which ordinary licenses -- Class D, 1,981,696 -- are the vast majority. About 140,000 folks have Real IDs.
This is out of a population of right at 3 million.
Addendum: Hardin said there is some confusion about the newly designed driver's license and the Real ID. The former rolled out earlier this year. The new design is not automatically the Real ID, which requires all those additional documents.
Vanity plate seen on Markham Street: RAWRRR.
Metro on 11/10/2018
Print Headline: DRIVETIME MAHATMA: TSA letter not enough for Real ID