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REAL ID Act to be implemented at Ellsworth Sept. 15

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- Implementation of the REAL ID Act will begin at Ellsworth Air Force Base on Sept. 15, 2016.

As a result, individuals with state-issued identification card or driver’s license from Missouri, Minnesota, Washington or American Samoa will no longer be able to access the base unescorted. However, there are two exceptions -- Minnesota and Washington residents have an option to obtain an enhanced driver’s license which are compliant with the new regulations.

This change aligns the Air Force’s installation access policy with requirements of the REAL ID Act, which focuses on improving the reliability of state-issued identification documents, and helps prevent a person’s ability to evade detection by using a fraudulent form of ID.

These adjustments will affect the way many of us bring visitors onto the installation. For example, if you are a military ID card holder and you want to bring someone on the installation who only has an ID from Missouri, Minnesota, Washington or American Samoa, your guest will only be issued an escorted entry pass – meaning he or she must be escorted by you at all times while on the base unless you have an approved alternate form of ID.

The following are alternative forms of ID that license/ID card holders from Missouri, Minnesota, Washington or American Samoa can use to gain unescorted entry to the base when you sponsor them:

• 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.

If your guest has REAL ID Act compliant credentials, he or she may be issued an unescorted pass and will be allowed to enter and move around the base without an escort. As always, all personnel visiting Ellsworth AFB will receive a background check.

Additionally, beginning Oct. 10, 2016, an additional 28 states and territories currently operating under Dept. of Homeland Security-approved ID/license extensions will expire. If extensions are not renewed for these states, the respective state/territory issued credentials will no longer be valid for access to Ellsworth AFB. The Dept. of Homeland Security website (https://www.dhs.gov/current-status-states-territories) lists those states operating under extensions.

Contractors who possess a current Common Access Card (CaC) will not be affected by these changes. Additionally, if a contractor has a Defense Biometric Identification System (DBIDS) card for access to the base, he or she is not affected until the card expires. However, once the card expires or is up for annual renewal, the contractor must have a REAL ID Act compliant credential to receive a new card. If he or she does not have a compliant credential, that individual will have to be escorted on the base to perform his or her work. Furthermore, if a contractor is on a current temporary (paper) pass and does not have a compliant credential, the pass will no longer be honored as of September 15, and that person will need to be escorted onto the installation.

If you have any questions, please call the Visitor Control Center at (605) 385-2895.