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Alaskans get another extension as state prepares to implement Real ID

The Department of Homeland Security is expected to grant a Real ID Act extension to Alaska on Thursday. That means people will be able to continue using their Alaska IDs to get on military bases or access federal facilities at least through early October.

Leslie Ridle, deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Administration, said the state received news Wednesday that Homeland Secretary John Kelly would sign off on the extension. That extends the grace period for non-compliant Alaska IDs through Oct. 10, 2017.

Alaska's last extension expires July 10.

In the meantime, fully compliant IDs for Alaskans are in the works. In May, Gov. Bill Walker signed off on legislation that would allow the state to meet the requirements of the federal act that set national proof-of-identity standards. The state had previously not come into full compliance due to state law forbidding the allocation of funds to Real ID implementation.

In recent years, the Department of Homeland Security began issuing notices that states must come into full compliance with the law. ID holders from non-compliant states like Alaska could be denied access to federal facilities, such as military bases, and would face additional scrutiny when traveling on commercial airlines under the act.

"With the extension, that means your driver's license works just fine," Ridle said of using Alaska IDs for air travel and military bases. "So people shouldn't be calling up and going down and standing in line for Real ID. It's not there yet."

Ridle said the state will continue to apply for annual extensions as it implements Real ID over the next several years. She said the state isn't even expected to start issuing the compliant identification until January 2019.

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