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U.S. DHS Gives Two Extra Years for Real ID Compliance

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has pushed back its Real ID enforcement date by two years to ensure that all have time to meet the standards.

The deadline—at which time driver’s licenses and identifications that are not Real ID compliant will not be accepted by federal agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration at airport security checkpoints—is now May 7, 2025, instead of the previous deadline of May 3, 2023. DHS noted that state driver’s license agencies are still working through backlogs from the Covid-19 pandemic, during which many of the agencies automatically extended licenses and IDs set to expire and operated on an appointment-only basis.

“The extension will give states needed time to ensure their residents can obtain a Real ID-compliant license or identification card,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “DHS also will use this time to implement innovations to make the process more efficient and accessible.”

The Real ID Act dates back to 2005, and all states and four of the five U.S. territories are issuing compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards. The pandemic already has pushed back the original deadline, which had been set for Oct. 1, 2020.

The U.S. Travel Association in a statement indicated it approved of DHS’s decision. “Extending the Real ID deadline is the right decision, and U.S. Travel appreciates DHS leadership for recognizing that with more than 100 million Americans still lacking a Real ID, now is not the time to create significant travel disruptions,” U.S. Travel Association executive vice president of public affairs and policy Tori Emerson Barnes said in a statement. “This delay helps give travelers the time necessary to get the credential needed to fly domestically.”

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