Most states currently check Social Security numbers and about half check immigration status. Some, like New York, Virginia, North Carolina and California, already have implemented many of the security measures envisioned in REAL ID. In California, for example, officials expect the only major change to adopt the first phase would be to take the photograph at the beginning of the application process instead of the end.
After the Social Security and immigration status checks become nationwide practice, officials plan to move on to more expansive security checks, including state DMV offices checking with the State Department to verify those applicants who use passports to get a driver's license, verifying birth certificates and checking with other states to ensure an applicant doesn't have more than one license.
A handful of states have already signed written agreements indicating plans to comply with REAL ID. Seventeen others, though, have passed legislation or resolutions objecting to it, often based on concerns about the billions of dollars such extra security is expected to cost.
Associated Press writer Eileen Sullivan contributed to this report.