The Real ID deadline is being pushed back (again) until 2023

Apr 27, 2021

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It looks like the long-awaited Real ID program is being delayed once again. NBC correspondent Pete Williams was the first to report the news.

According to NBC producer Michael Del Moro, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will announce that the requirement for all air passengers to be Real ID-compliant to board domestic flights will be delayed another 19 months, to May 3, 2023.

The most recent deadline for travelers to have a Real ID-compliant driver’s license (in order to board a flight without another form of identification) was supposed to be Oct. 1, 2021.

(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told NBC that, “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.”

Related: Everything you need to know about getting a Real ID

The program, which has been in the works since 2005, has been delayed multiple times. States have complained that the new security requirements are onerous and complicated, and the coronavirus pandemic further delayed the launch of the program since many people will need to visit the DMV to satisfy the rules under the new Real ID program.

So far, according to NBC News, only 43% of state IDs or driver’s licenses are Real-ID compliant.

The Real ID Act was passed by Congress after the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, to provide for increased security.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, “The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards.”

To issue a Real ID, some states may demand to see a social security card and/or a birth certificate, plus some other form of ID such as an unexpired passport. You’ll also need, most likely, to show up at your local DMV in person.

All 50 U.S. states, along with Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands are issuing compliant IDs. With the delayed rollout, hopefully, more people will be able to get a new enhanced license.

Real ID cards themselves are more advanced and, therefore, harder to forge. Not sure if you already have a Real ID-compliant license? It should have a star on the upper right-hand corner of the card. Licenses that aren’t Real ID-compliant will say “federal limits apply.”

(Image courtesy of the TSA.)

The U.S. Travel Association applauded the move in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon. Tori Emerson Barnes, the executive VP for public affairs, saying:

“Extending the Real ID deadline is the right move, and we’re grateful to DHS for heeding the evidence and the calls from our industry. Getting to Real ID compliance on time was already going to be a challenge before COVID shut down DMVs for extended periods. Significant travel disruption was likely if the deadline were allowed to hit, which the U.S. economy can’t afford after a $500 billion decline in travel spending last year and millions of travel jobs lost to the pandemic.”

This delay in the Real ID rollout will give more time for people to make sure they have a compliant ID for air travel.

Related: The top credit cards for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck

Even if you have Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, you’ll still need an authorized form of identification to fly — though it doesn’t have to be a Real ID. Your passport or a Trusted Traveler ID from the DHS, for example, will suffice, as long as you’re prepared with those documents even for quick domestic flights. Visit our complete guide for more information.

Featured photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy.

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