The REAL ID Act is giving people real anxiety, but most people in Alaska don’t need to worry just yet.

Gov. Walker signed House Bill 16 on Friday, allowing the state to begin the process of issuing REAL ID compliant forms of identification.

“Alaskans no longer have to wonder if their travel plans or ability to work will be in jeopardy,” Governor Walker said in a press release Friday. 

Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) director Marla Thompson says people want to know what the change will mean for them, but stresses there’s no need to rush to the DMV.

“It’s going to take us a little bit of time,” Thompson said. “We need to change our processes to become compliant with the Department of Homeland Security.”

Thompson says REAL ID’s won’t be available in Alaska until January 2019 and you won’t need one at the airport until October 2020.

But at Anchorage’s Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, the change will be felt sooner.

Starting July 10, Alaska driver’s licenses and ID cards will no longer be enough to get into a federal facility, including military bases.

“Approximately 14,000 Alaskan contractors and local service providers may be negatively impacted and required to have alternative forms of identification,” Brock, said. “The REAL ID Act will not impact personnel with a Department of Defense credential. Alaska driver’s licenses are still an authorized credential for driving on base, just not accessing base.”

Those with noncompliant licenses will need another form of ID to access federal installations that require credentials to enter, including:

  • United States passports

  • Permanent Resident card/Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-766)

  • Foreign passports with a temporary (I-551) stamp

  • An employment authorization document that contains a photograph (Form I-766)

  • Current, valid driver’s license or identification card issued by a state or outlying possession of the United States which is in compliance with the REAL ID Act of 2005.

  • If children 17 and younger do not possess a REAL ID, they may use a school record or report card, and original or certified copy of birth certificate issued by a state, county, municipal authority, or outlying possession of the United States bearing an official seal.

No one is required to get a REAL ID. The DMV will still issue state driver’s licenses and IDs, but eventually you won’t be able to use them to fly, even domestically, or enter military facilities.

The REAL ID will be nearly identical to the current Alaska driver’s license, but with a marking to identify it.

It will cost $40 for a REAL ID driver’s licenses and $35 for a REAL ID card, according to the DMV.

Here are the key dates you need to remember:

  • July 10, 2017 – Enforcement of REAL ID at JBER begins

  • January 2019—DMV will make REAL ID available to Alaskans.

  • October 2020—You will need a REAL ID or compliant form of identification to board a flight, even domestically. Your current driver’s license is still good at airports until this date.