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DHS Announces (Another) Extension of REAL ID Act Enforcement

Both U.S. state governments and flyers will have extra time to get "REAL ID" ready, as the Department of Homeland Security has extended the contentious program yet again.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it will be extending the enforcement of ID standards as set out by the REAL ID Act. The regulation – which sets a minimum standard for state-issued forms of ID – was due to come into force on May 3,2023, but has been extended due to the onward impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Homeland Security revealed the extension will go another two years, meaning that states and air travelers will now have until May 7, 2025 – rather than May 3, 2023 – to comply with this regulation.


REAL ID Act Offers Benchmark for ID Standards

Rooted in post-9/11 legislation, the REAL ID Act was passed in 2005 and serves as a benchmark for minimum security standards for state-issued forms of identification. For air passengers, this means that the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) can reject any driver’s licenses and identification cards that do not comply with REAL ID standards.


The new security standards incorporate anti-counterfeiting technology, aid in preventing insider fraud and utilize documentary evidence and record checks to verify a person’s identity. From May 7, 2025, all domestic travelers aged 18 and over will need to present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, identification card or other TSA-accepted form of identification at security checkpoints. More information and full FAQs on the REAL ID Act can be found here.


Why is an Extension Needed?

Explaining the methodology behind its reasons for extending the enforcement of the act, the DHS clarified in a statement that, “The extension is necessary, in part, to address the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ability to obtain a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card. REAL ID progress over the past two years has been significantly hindered by state driver’s licensing agencies having to work through the backlogs created by the pandemic.”


Offering his comments on the extension, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas said, “DHS continues to work closely with U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories to meet REAL ID requirements. This extension will give states needed time to ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card. DHS will also use this time to implement innovations to make the process more efficient and accessible. We will continue to ensure that the American public can travel safely.”

rylan December 19, 2022

I wonder what the Vegas odds are on this getting extended another xx years, or ever happening at all...

jayer December 18, 2022

How many people still have a non-compliant license after all this time anyway? People feel comfortable enough to fly in a metal tube with recirculating air, but they need an extension don't feel comfortable going into a government office for a license renewal?  Unfathomable government logic that makes no sense.  

UAL4life December 16, 2022

Wait, now there are 3 things for certain in this world? death, taxes, and the continuous extension of TSAs Enforcment of REAL ID...