The Department of Homeland Security cites the COVID-19 pandemic’s continuing effects as the reason for the slower-than-anticipated rollout and has extended the deadline for getting the Real ID required to board a domestic flight.
Real IDs were required by May 3, 2023, but the DHS said on Monday that the deadline had been moved up two years to May 7, 2025.
In a news release, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas stated that “this delay will allow states required time to assure their inhabitants can get a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card.”
“DHS will also take advantage of this period to introduce innovations to improve the process’ accessibility and efficiency. We’ll keep working to make sure Americans can travel safely.
Although DHS claimed that the pandemic caused backlogs at state driver’s license offices, people receive compliant IDs as they renew their driver’s licenses.
Many state agencies that provide driver’s licenses and ID cards automatically extended the expiration dates of these documents due to backlogs, as opposed to issuing documents that complied with the Real ID mandate.
Domestic passengers 18 and older on commercial flights must have a driver’s license or state photo ID identification card that complies with Real ID after the May 2025 deadline.
Real ID will also be necessary to enter some federal buildings, including military sites.
Congress adopted the Real ID statute in 2005 due to the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation.
The new ID employs record checks, documentary evidence, and anti-counterfeiting technologies to verify that a person is who they say they are.
Since the initial 2008 deadline, there have been multiple delays in enforcement.
The deadline was most recently extended by DHS in April 2021 to May 2023, stating how COVID-19 makes it more difficult for states to provide new licenses.
According to a DHS spokesman on Tuesday, approximately 52% of state-issued licenses and ID cards were deemed Real ID compliant. Up from 43% in April 2021, this.
Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards are now being issued by all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories. According to DHS, American Samoa is being considered for Real ID enforcement.