Gov. Jim Gibbons has signed emergency regulations enacting Real ID, despite opposition and uncertainty that the federal government will implement it.
Without the regulations, DMV Director Edgar Roberts said Nevada licenses would be invalid for accessing federal buildings or such things as air travel starting in January.
Under Real ID, those seeking their first Nevada driver's license will be required to show a birth certificate, a Social Security card and documents verifying their residency.
Nevadans born after Dec. 1, 1964 can continue using their Nevada licenses until December 2014. Those born before that date can keep using the existing licenses until December 2017.
After those dates, all Nevadans would be required to show such ID to renew their licenses.
Roberts also assured Nevada drivers that the regulations prohibit using Radio Frequency Identification chips or any other technology capable of tracking people in Nevada licenses.
The Nevada American Civil Liberties Union, however, questioned whether the Real ID program was compromising the privacy of personal data on the licenses and pointed out that state lawmakers have opposed the program, urging Congress to repeal Real ID.
In a letter signed by Allen Lichtenstein and Rebecca Gasca, the ACLU described Real ID as a national ID card, "a bad idea that will violate the civil rights of Nevadans and impose very significant burdens on Nevada taxpayers."
"We ask that you refuse to unilaterally enact any emergency regulation that would attempt to bring Nevada into compliance with any provisions of Real ID," the letter concludes. "Nevadans deserve more than last minute decisions that threaten fundamental privacy rights and burden them as taxpayers."
The letter states that 24 other states have decided to opt out of enacting Real ID.
Roberts, in a response, said the card isn't a national ID card since it is issued by the state, not the federal government.
Roberts said the regulations give DMV the ability to move forward with the Real ID program. The department has been issuing the Real ID drivers' licenses since last January. He said DMV is prepared to implement the program in January.
Gibbons' communications director, Daniel Burns, said that Gibbons and the state Department of Motor Vehicles will factor in what U.S. Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano does. She is expected to announce an indefinite postponement of the Dec. 31 deadline for states to comply.
• The Associated Press contributed to this article.