Nevada gets Real ID extension

The state Department of Motor Vehicles has been granted a Real ID Act extension by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that will allow Nevada's current driver licenses to be accepted for federal purposes through Dec. 31, 2009.

The law is supposed to make it more difficult for terrorists, illegal immigrants and others to get official identification.

"Giving the states more time to comply with Real ID indicates DHS was listening to the concerns many states had," DMV Director Ginny Lewis said Monday. "That flexibility will lighten some of the burden this act places on Nevada motorists."

Another key component to the final rule is an age-based, phase-in for a Real ID-compliant license or ID card. Individuals born on or after Dec. 1, 1964 have until Dec. 1, 2014 to get a compliant license or card, and those born before Dec. 1, 1964 have until Dec. 1, 2017.

"Presently, we're reviewing the details of the final rule to determine exactly what it means to Nevada," Lewis said, "But Nevadans can rest assured their current licenses or ID cards will be good for boarding aircraft or entering a federal building for awhile."

Earlier this month, the state Board of Examiners approved a contract for $29.2 million to plan and deliver a drivers' license system that meets federal Real ID standards. Digimarc, which supplies the driver's licenses now issued by the state, will also supply the new secure licenses.

Lewis has said the new licenses will have 15 security features instead of the current design's five, making them much more difficult to counterfeit. Computer programming will allow a search of the license database to match the photo taken for a new license with the most recent photo of that individual when they go to renew their license.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)