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REAL ID Act non-compliance affects military base visitors

Michael Miller, visitor control center guard, issues Jodie Lowe, military spouse, a guest pass to be granted access on post Jan. 19. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Michael Miller, visitor control center guard, issues Jodie Lowe, military spouse, a guest pass to be granted access on post Jan. 19. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: January 21, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Jan. 21, 2016) -- People who venture onto post frequently are no strangers to having to show proper identification at the gates, but newcomers and out-of-state visitors may be in for a surprise if their state’s identification requirements aren’t in compliance with the REAL ID Act.

According to the Department of Homeland Security website,, the REAL ID Act of 2005 establishes “minimum standards for the production and issuance of state-issued driver licenses and identification cards, which include requirements for a photograph and certain biographic information.”

Federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, are prohibited from accepting non-compliant forms of identification. As a result, the visitor control centers will no longer be able to accept non-REAL ID driver’s licenses or identification cards for access to Fort Rucker, said John Tkac, chief of physical security for the Directorate of Public Safety.

There are currently five states that are currently not compliant with the minimum standards or have not filed for an extension to meet those requirements, which include Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico and Washington. Furthermore, there are 23 states that have filed for extensions through Oct. 10 to meet compliancy. For a full list of states, visit

If a person is visiting a post and is from a state issuing non-compliant driver’s licenses, they must present identification in the form of a U.S. passport or passport card; permanent resident card or alien registration receipt card (Form I-551); foreign passport with temporary (I-551) stamp or temporary (I-551) printed notation on a machine readable immigrant visa; employment authorization document that contains a photograph (Form I-766); foreign passport with Form I-94 or Form I-94A bearing the same name as the passport; school identification card with a photograph; U.S. military draft record; U.S. Coast Guard merchant mariner cards; transportation worker identification card; or Native American tribal document.

Tkac said that it should be noted that Minnesota and Washington do issue enhanced driver’s licenses, which are in compliance with the REAL ID Act, so people with enhanced driver’s licenses will not need to show an alternative form of identification.

“If you’re going to another military installation, you should contact the proper authorities at that installation to find out what additional identification is required,” advised Tkac.

“We live in Alabama, which is compliant (with the REAL ID Act), and most of the surrounding states around us are compliant, so where we’ll see the most impact with this is from visitors who might be coming from elsewhere to graduations and things of that nature,” he said. “We’ve already reached out to the units on post and given them the information so that they can start incorporating this information into their graduation packets. Soldiers should (provide) visiting family members, if they’re coming from out of state to Fort Rucker, a list of approved IDs that they can show.”

Tkac also said that guards stationed at all entrances to Fort Rucker are updated with information regarding state-issued compliant forms of identification. He urges people to come prepared if they require access to the post.

“We will continue to monitor the status of the compliant states and the guards know which states aren’t compliant, so people need to make sure they also stay up to date on the information until their state meets the requirements,” he said.

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