real id

DHS: REAL ID Deadline Extended to 2023 Due to Ongoing Pandemic

The pandemic has significantly impacted states’ ability to issue REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards, with many agencies still operating at limited capacity

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

The Department of Homeland Security will again delay the requirement for air travelers to have a Real ID-compliant form of identification by Oct. 1, pushing the deadline back 19 months, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced Tuesday.

Mayorkas said the new date for compliance will be May 3, 2023 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. DHS initially postponed the enforcement date from REAL ID from Oct. 1, 2020, to Oct. 1, 2021, in response to COVID-19 lockdowns last year.

The pandemic has significantly impacted states’ ability to issue REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards, with many agencies still operating at limited capacity.

Congress passed the Real ID Act in 2005 to establish minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards, following a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission. The purpose of the law was to standardize the way states issue driver’s licenses and federal IDs.

Real ID compliant cards are issued after a more thorough verification of an applicant's identification and incorporates new security features that make them harder to counterfeit. 

Under the new law, travelers 18 years or older must present a Real ID or other product, such as a passport, to board a domestic commercial flight or enter a “super secured” federal facility.

However, older IDs are still acceptable for driving, voting, buying liquor or other age-regulated products, and gambling at casinos. Travelers also can use military IDs or passports to access flights and federal facilities.

Several states are already Real ID compliant, including Connecticut, Delaware, Florida and the District of Columbia.

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