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  • Published
  • By Courtesy article
  • 169th Security Forces Squadron

The Department of Homeland Security has granted South Carolina an extension for making necessary changes to the state driver’s license required by the REAL ID Act.  This extension will expire June 6. At this time, a S.C. driver’s license remains an acceptable form of identification for accessing McEntire Joint National Guard Base.

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards.

The REAL ID Act grew out of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks -- most of the terrorists involved had driver’s licenses from Florida and Virginia. Congress tightened up issuance processes and documentation needed to get a driver’s license. Compliant cards must have specific security features to prevent tampering, counterfeiting or duplication of the document. The licenses also must present data in a common, machine-readable format.

The REAL ID Act affects only access control policies where individuals are required to present an identification document for accessing federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants or boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft. The federal REAL ID Act implementation rules allow for exceptions. For example, life or safety issues such as medical emergencies, and situations in which physical access is necessary to apply for benefits are two exceptions.

Below are McEntire JNGB’s current policies on the REAL ID Act and commonly asked questions.


Q: Wasn’t the implementation of the Act supposed to start October 1, 2015?

A: Yes. The implementation date of REAL ID Act requirements at Department of Defense installations was October 10, 2015. The Air Force published a notification message to Major Command Vice Commanders advising that access control requirements would be conducted in accordance with Department of Defense policy in DTM 09-012 and AFMAN 31-113 pending DoD policy guidance.

Identity proofing was done using approved identification credentials with a background check conducted through law enforcement authoritative databases. Simultaneously, the Air Force, as well as the other services, approached the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence with a request for clarifying guidance on REAL ID since access control requirements would shift from current policy guidelines, now the guidance has been received we are moving forward with the implementation.

Q: Does this affect those with a military, retiree, dependent or CAC ID?

A: No. There is no change for base access to individuals who already possess military issued credentials; non-DoD personnel without base access credentials will be the largest demographic affected by REAL ID Act requirements.

Q: What alternate forms of ID are acceptable? Do I need more than one?

A: You only need one of the following:

U.S. Passport

U.S Passport Card

Permanent Resident Card/Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-551).

A foreign passport with a temporary (I-551) stamp or temporary (I-551) printed notation on a machine readable immigrant visa.

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

Identification card issued by Federal, State, or local government agencies, provided it contains a photograph and biographic information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address.

U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Cards/Credentials.

PIV or Federally-Issued PIV-1 Cards (Personal Identification Verification) issued by the Federal Government.

PIV-I card (Personal identification verification-Interoperable Issued by Non-Federal Government entities).

DHS “Trusted Traveler Cards” (Global entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST).

Merchant Mariner card issued by DHS/ United States Coast Guard (USCG).

Border Crossing Card (Form DSP-150).

U.S. Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-550) and U.S. Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551).

U.S. Refugee travel document or other travel document or evidence of immigration status issued by DHS containing a photograph.

A Foreign Government Issued Passport.

Additionally, commanders may determine alternative forms of locally acceptable ID and outline them in the base directive.


Q: What identification is required of minors?

A: There is no change to current procedures. When entering an installation with an individual in possession of as REAL ID Act compliant identification card, minors are not required to have an identification credential.

Q: If I have a military ID and want to take my mom on post, does she need to get a background check?

A: If you are a military ID cardholder and she is under your escort, she only needs to show a picture ID. If she needs unescorted access, ie., entering the installation on her own, she will need a REAL ID Act compliant credential to be issued an access pass. A background check will be done prior to issuing the pass.

Q: I have guests attending a personal event for someone on base, do they each need a background check for this or just an access pass?

A: If you are escorting them in your vehicle, a photo ID will suffice without a background check. If you have guests that need to travel unescorted onto an Air Force Installation, guests 18 and over will need a background check and an access pass. The passes will be valid for the duration of the visit. Background checks and passes are issued at the Visitor Control Center. In order to conduct the background check, a REAL ID Act compliant credential will be required to establish individual identity.

Q: How about off-base restaurants delivering food on base?

A: Food delivery drivers will be required to receive an access pass and background check when they deliver food on the installation. It should only add a few minutes to the delivery time, provided the delivery driver meets the criteria for receiving an access pass. The duration of the pass will vary by need. In order to conduct the background check, a REAL ID Act compliant credential will be required to establish individual identity.

Q: If I am getting married on base, how do I and my guests get on post with these new regulations?

A: The DoD sponsor for your event will need to give an attendee list to the Visitor Control Center prior to the day of the event (typically 72 hours prior to any event at most bases). Your DoD sponsor is the unit or organization you coordinated with for your wedding reservation or venue (i.e. FSS, Chaplain’s Office, etc). Your guests will need to bring a valid driver's license/photo ID with them that is in compliance with REAL ID to gain access to the installation.

Q: I am a DoD contractor with a Common Access Card. Can I bring my wife onto the installation without her needing a background check or access pass?

A: No. Your wife will require a background check and access pass. Contractors are not authorized to escort un-vetted visitors on the installation.


Q: What’s needed to access a base?

A: Access to Air Force installations is based upon, identify proofing, a background check and a purpose for entry. Installation commanders may deny access and issuance of access credentials based upon information obtained during the background process that indicates the individual may present a threat to the good order, discipline, and morale of the installation.

Q: Does this mean there will be no more open house events or air shows?

A: We greatly enjoy celebrating special occasions on the installation with members of our surrounding communities. Fortunately, the installation commander has the authority to grant waivers for special events and/or if individuals with no DoD credentials are attending large functions on the installation. This means that for large public events on the installation, the requirement for background checks and access passes can be temporarily waived.

Q: What could prevent a person from being granted access?

A: Examples of behavior and/or criminal records which may prevent a person from gaining access may include, but are not limited to the following:

The individual is known to be or reasonably suspected of being a terrorist or belongs to an organization with known terrorism links/support.

The installation is unable to verify the individual's claimed identity.

The individual has previously been barred from access to a federal installation or stand-alone facility.

The individual is wanted (regardless of offense or violation) or convicted of a felony offense by Federal, State, Local, or other civil law enforcement authorities,

The individual has any conviction for espionage, sabotage, treason, terrorism, or murder.

The individual has any conviction for espionage, sabotage, treason, terrorism, or murder.

The individual's name appears on any Federal or State agency's watch list for criminal behavior or terrorist activity.

The individual has been convicted of a firearms or explosive violation.

The individual has knowingly and willfully engaged in acts or activities designed to overthrow the U.S. Government by force.

Q: Why are background checks being implemented on visitors?

A: Homeland Security Presidential Directive #12 directs the Department of Defense to use the National Crime Information Center – Interstate Identification Index to vet personnel entering any military installation who do not possess a U.S. Government Common Access Card or Uniformed Services Identification Card.

Q: What is NCIC-III?

A: NCIC-III is the National Crime Information Center – Interstate ID Index. It is the DoD minimum baseline background check required for entrance onto military installations for non-common access card holders and visitors. Visitors under the age of 18 will not have an NCIC-III check conducted.

Q: Can I get a copy of my NCIC-III background check information?

A: No. We are not legally permitted to provide this information.


Q: Is DHS trying to build a national database with all of our information?

A: No. REAL ID is a national set of standards, not a national identification card. REAL ID does not create a federal database of driver license information. Each jurisdiction continues to issue its own unique license, maintains its own records, and controls who gets access to those records and under what circumstances. The purpose of REAL ID is to make our identity documents more consistent and secure.

Q: Why are some states still not compliant? Isn’t this law?

A: It is Federal law. REAL ID is Federal law requiring Federal agencies to restrict the circumstances under which they may accept state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards for official purposes. Participation by states is voluntary, although Federal agencies are prohibited from accepting driver’s licenses or identification cards from noncompliant states for official purposes.

To see if your current ID is compliant with the Real ID Act, visit