Department of Homeland Security pushes REAL ID deadline to 2023

(WASHINGTON) — The federal government is delaying the deadline for the REAL ID enforcement for a second time.

Every domestic air traveler 18 and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver’s license or another TSA-acceptable form of identification beginning on May 3, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday.

The original deadline of Oct. 1, 2020, was postponed for one year due to the pandemic. The second delay is also “due to circumstances resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the DHS press release.

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

All 50 states, Washington, D.C., and four of the five U.S. territories covered by the REAL ID Act and related regulations are now compliant with REAL ID security standards, the government said.

The regulation was put in place in 2005 as a way to ensure travelers’ identities following the 9/11 attacks, according to the DHS. Only recently did all 50 states come into compliance.

Currently, only 43% of driver’s licenses issued in the U.S. are REAL ID-compliant, according to DHS data.

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