The time to get a Real ID has been extended due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas made the announcement in a press release on Tuesday that the Real ID full enforcement date is being pushed by 19 months. The release noted that the pandemic has impacted the ability of states to issue Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards, where many states are still operating on limited capacity.
“Protecting the health, safety, and security of our communities is our top priority,” said Mayorkas. “As our country continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, extending the Real ID full enforcement deadline will give states needed time to reopen their driver’s licensing operations and ensure their residents can obtain a Real ID-compliant license or identification card.”
DHS is set to publish an interim final rule to “effecutuate” the date change.
This is the second push for the date of compliance because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The original date of October of 2020 was pushed to 2021.
What occurs after compliance date?
The effective date when Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses or identification cards, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification will be required for air travelers 18 years of age and older to fly domestically is now set for May 3, 2023. Air travelers will have to show this type of identifications at airport security checkpoints starting on that date.
All 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and four of five U.S. territories covered by the Real ID Act and related regulations are now compliant with REAL ID security standards. These governments are currently issuing Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards, but many licensing agencies have extended the deadline for renewing driver’s licenses.
The extension by these agencies has occurred due to a widespread shift to appointment-only scheduling protocols due to COVID-19, which has led to limited capacity for states to issue Real-ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards.
Only 43% of all state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards are Real ID-compliant as a result.
“DHS and various states also need time to implement requirements mandated by the Real ID Modernization Act, including changes that will streamline processing by allowing the electronic submission of certain documents,” DHS said in a press release.
For more about the Real ID, head to www.dhs.gov/real-id