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N.J. to debut TRU-ID licenses in wake of federal REAL ID Act


Your time spent at the DMV could potentially become more arduous.

Starting May 7, New Jerseyans will deal with the implementation of the federal REAL ID Act (enacted May 2005), which sets new standards for the issuance of driver licenses and identification cards. Prior to the Act, each state set its own rules and criteria regarding the issuance of a driver’s license or identification card; under the federal law, stricter standards may require additional proof of identification to secure the new license.

The look of the new credentials will remain unchanged, aside from a single gold star or a single gold star in a circle in the upper right corner of the card.

New Jersey will become the 10th state to start issuing the new licenses, while more than 20 are taking their time with the implementation of the Act. Other states are fighting the Constitutionality of the federal ID act, saying that it violates the 10th Amendment, citing privacy concerns and cost issues, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Ray Martinez, chief administrator of the state Motor Vehicle Commission, said the goal of the new federal standards is to ensure that one driver has only one record. 

"This was a problem in many states," he said. "You’d have drivers that were able to scam, and get multiple records under different names or balance different licenses among different states."

Almost a year ago, New Jersey went digital with identification, which enhanced security features to make it harder for counterfeiters to knock off the licenses.  Earlier this year, the New Jersey MVC began implementing "facial recognition technology" to combat driver’s license fraud, with technology that would allow scanning photos of applicants with preciseness which could distinguish individual applicants with the distance between eyeballs on a photo. The technology cost almost $9 million, with federal grants covering some of the costs.

Although the information required to renew the license is essentially the same, proof of such documentation may be a bit harder to come by. The current 6-point ID standard system will be replaced with Tru-ID document requirements.

Customers will no longer be able to just say their Social Security Number; they will have to show proof of it. Likewise, two forms of proof of residency will be required instead of one. Documents such as military cards and gym memberships will no longer be accepted. High school and college transcripts won’t be allowed for proof of identity. Expired documents, like passports which were allowed previously, will no longer be accepted.

The federal changes were a response to the September 11 terrorist attacks and the realization immediately afterward that it was too easy to get phony driver licenses in America because states didn’t have uniform standards, writes Mike Frassenelli for The Star-Ledger.

The renewal fee will be $48 for an eight-year issue, following the same rate as the $24 for four years in place now.

The Department of Homeland Security says the standardized licenses will start being phased-in as a requirement for people boarding commercial flights or entering federal buildings by the end of 2014, reports Bob Jordan for the Asbury Park Press.

"We're trying to help customer flow by having a two-tier system," Martinez said. "It's so we don't get killed with extremely long lines in our offices."

Current licenses will be valid as identification for federal purposes until December 1, 2014 for individuals born after December 1, 1964 and until December 1, 2017 for everyone else. A federally approved ID, such as a U.S. Passport, would still be accepted.

Details regarding the new TRU-ID system can be found here.

Comments (1)
1 Monday, 09 April 2012 06:43
SJ John
Seriously? The system is MUCH simpler. You only need three documents apart from your license. And you only need a new license every eight years.

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