DPS now ready to issue REAL ID-compliant DLs

Posted on Jan 10 2020


Photo shows the front of a REAL ID-compliant CNMI driver’s license. (Contributed Photos)

The CNMI Department of Public Safety is now capable of issuing driver’s licenses that comply with the mandates of the REAL ID law, thanks to the help of technology company Valid.

In a statement yesterday, it said that DPS has now implemented driver’s licenses that are fully compliant with the requirements of the REAL ID law—which means they are now fully reliable means of identification

“By implementing the Valid REAL ID solution and improving physical card security, [the] CNMI is taking steps to secure the overall process of verifying the identities of its residents and issuing secure documents,” the press statement added.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, every air traveler must present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, a valid passport, or a U.S. military ID, to fly within the United States. Individuals, even U.S. citizens, who are unable to verify their identity will not be allowed to fly.

Valid and DPS worked with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration throughout the process to ensure its certification package meets approval guidelines.

The CNMI will still be able to offer driver’s licenses that are not REAL ID-compliant for residents unable to meet the REAL ID requirements. However, without a REAL ID-compliant document, citizens cannot access U.S. federal government facilities or board a commercial flight after Oct. 1, 2020.

Photo shows the back of a REAL ID-compliant CNMI driver’s license.

Valid trained DPS’ licensing team to use its streamlined software, which collects applicants’ information to issue secure credentials. The criteria required to meet REAL ID compliance include:

Ensuring images are retrievable by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles if requested by law enforcement;

Implementing document security features on REAL ID cards to protect against reproduction and document fraud; and

Verifying applicant’s various proofs of identity before issuing a REAL ID card.

“The implementation process went incredibly smooth with very few problems,” said Mike Fox, vice president and CCO of Valid. “This is a reflection on the thorough planning, testing and training that went into the project by the Valid and CNMI teams before the implementation occurred.”

“The REAL ID regulations and policies are very intricate and nuanced and Valid has been a great partner and successfully led CNMI through this project,” said John Deleon Guerrero, DPS systems administrator. “The implementation timeline with Valid was a swift 12 months, which is years shorter than the industry average. [The] CNMI now has a secure system that can be easily updated with CNMI legislation changes moving into the future.”

Valid hosts the CNMI REAL ID solution in a secure virtual private cloud within an Amazon Web Services, Inc. GovCloud Region. The Valid implementation of its software within AWS includes cybersecurity monitoring using machine learning, which pinpoints potential malicious activity and unauthorized behavior. The Valid software automatically initiates necessary measures to deal with suspicious activity.

Photo shows the front of a REAL ID-compliant CNMI driver’s license for minors.


Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005, which establishes minimum security standards for state-issued DL and ID cards. The act prohibits federal agencies from accepting DL and ID cards for any official purpose from states that do not meet these standards. The final enforcement phase covers acceptance of state-issued DL and ID cards for purposes of boarding a federally-regulated commercial aircraft and began in January 2018. The regulatory card-based enforcement date is Oct. 1, 2020.

For more information on the REAL ID Act, visit the DHS website at: http://www.dhs.gov/real-id. (Saipan Tribune)

Saipan Tribune

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