April 28, 2021 12:00 PM, EDT

DHS Extends Real ID Enforcement to May of 2023

Sample copy of a Washington drivers licenseSample copy of a Washington driver/s license. (Ted S. Warren/Associated Press)

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The Department of Homeland Security is extending the Real ID full enforcement date by 19 months, from October 1, 2021 to May 3, 2023, due to circumstances resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic has significantly impacted states’ ability to issue Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards, with many driver licensing agencies still operating at limited capacity,” a DHS April 27 release said.

Beginning May 3, 2023, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another Transportation Security Administration-acceptable form of identification at airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel and for entrance to federal facilities, DHS said.

DHS said 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 and are issuing Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards.

“However, many state licensing agencies have extended the deadline for renewing expiring licenses due to a widespread shift to appointment-only scheduling protocols during the pandemic that has significantly limited states’ capacity to issue Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards,” DHS said. “As a result, only 43% of all state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards are currently Real ID-compliant.

DHS and various states also need time to implement requirements mandated by the 2005 Real ID Modernization Act, including changes that will streamline processing by allowing the electronic submission of certain documents.

The measure requires most license applicants to show a photo ID, birth certificate, Social Security card and documentation of their full name and address.

Real ID was recommended by the 9/11 Commission.

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