Real ID requirement deadline extended again after COVID setbacks

The deadline for obtaining the proper identification needed to board a domestic flight has been pushed back, with the Department of Homeland Security citing the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for a slower-than-expected rollout.

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The deadline for having a Real ID was May 3, 2023, but DHS announced on Monday that it was pushed back two years, to May 7, 2025.

“This extension will give states time to ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a statement. hurry. “DHS will also use this time to implement innovations to make the process more efficient and accessible. We will continue to ensure that the American public can travel safely. »

People get compliant IDs when they renew their driver’s licenses, but DHS said the pandemic has resulted in backlogs at state driver’s license offices. Due to backlogs, many state agencies that issue driver’s licenses have automatically extended expiration dates for licenses and ID cards, rather than issuing licenses and cards that meet the Real ID requirement. .

After the May 2025 deadline, domestic travelers 18 and older on commercial flights must be in possession of a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or government-issued photo ID. Genuine identification will also be required to enter certain federal facilities such as military bases.

The Real Identity Act was passed by Congress in 2005 on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. The new form of identification incorporates anti-counterfeiting technology and uses documentary evidence and record checks to ensure that a person is who they say they are.

The application has been delayed several times since the original 2008 deadline. Most recently, in April 2021, DHS extended the deadline to May 2023, also citing how COVID-19 has made it more difficult for states to apply. issuance of new licenses.

A DHS spokeswoman said Tuesday that about 52% of state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards are considered Real ID compliant. That’s up from 43% in April 2021.

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four of the five U.S. territories covered by the Real ID Act issue Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards. DHS said American Samoa is under review for Real ID enforcement.


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