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October, 2020 “REAL ID” Requirements For Air Travel Will Not Impact Employment Eligibility

As covered in Immigration Nation (August, 2019), the federal government requires all U.S. employers to verify both identity and work authorization for each employee hired within the U.S., including citizens and non-citizens, using “Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification” (the I-9 Form or Form).

To verify one’s identity, the employee may submit a state-issued driver’s license/ID card.

Beginning October 1, 2020, U.S. citizens and residents will have to utilize the new “REAL ID” driver’s license or ID card or a federally issued identification (e.g., U.S. passport) to board domestic flights or enter federal facilities (e.g., military bases, federal courthouses, Congress). Thus, California’s “AB 60” licenses (which only require proof of residence and not citizenship or valid green card status) will no longer enable passengers to fly commercially in the U.S.

A California applicant can obtain this new “REAL” license through the DMV with proof of identity, state residency, and valid social security number. California’s REAL ID driver’s license or ID card has an image of a bear with a star in the upper right corner. Non-REAL driver’s licenses or ID cards will instead have the phrase “Federal Limits Apply” in that location.

While only REAL ID licenses will be valid for getting to an airport boarding gate or entering a government immigration office (to name two examples), from October, 2020 employers will be able to accept either “REAL” and “non-REAL” licenses as valid identification for the I-9. See, I-9 Form FAQs.

For information, please contact Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

See also:

Cindy Bamforth

September 19, 2019