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Homeland Security Delays REAL ID Again – Until 2023

Once again, the Department of Homeland Security is delaying the deadline for states to adopt the REAL ID requirement. Now, the new deadline for flyers to get a compliant federal- or state-issued identification card is pushed back by 19 months, to May 3, 2023.

Flyers who do not hold a REAL ID compliant card will get nearly two years of reprieve, as U.S. Department of Homeland Security is pushing back the deadline once more. In a press release, the agency announced the new compliance date will be pushed back 19 months, to May 3, 2023.

Date Pushed Back for the Second Time due to COVID-19 Pandemic

After multiple delays, the REAL ID was supposed to become the national standard on October 1, 2020. In order to access the secure area of airports or enter a federal facility, Americans would need to hold a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card.

However, after the COVID-19 pandemic expanded across the United States and around the world, license offices and agencies closed down as “safer-at-home” orders became the new normal. As a result of the novel Coronavirus outbreak, DHS delayed the implementation for another year.

Even though the number of vaccinated Americans is growing, officials at Homeland Security don’t believe that states need extra time to reopen offices and process those who still need a REAL ID card. As a result, DHS decided to push the new adoption date back once more.

“Protecting the health, safety, and security of our communities is our top priority,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “As our country continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, 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.”

The decision was praised by Airports Council International-North America president and chief executive Kevin M. Burke. In his statement, the airport organization leader said the new deadline “will help provide additional time to educate travelers and ensure they have the ability to more easily apply to obtain REAL ID-compliant identification so they will be ready to travel.”

Despite Perpetual Pushbacks, Americans Still Not Ready for REAL ID Standard

Although the REAL ID project has been in the works for years, Americans may not necessarily be ready for the enhanced IDs. While all 50 states and four of five territories are issuing REAL ID cards, only 43 percent of Americans hold identifications that are compliant with the rules. This reflects an increase of 11 percent from February 2020.

nrr May 1, 2021

That a state CAN issue REAL ID DLs does not mean it can’t still issue “regular” DLs as well. I believe to get REAL ID you have to physically go to a DMV—potentially long waits etc...much easier to nenew my regular license by mail.


Actually no you don’t necessarily have to get a real ID. For example my mother has a state ID only. And I don’t think it ever expires. So if your ID is not a license you may not ever have renew And of course they require you to bring in this pile of paper and then they look at basically none of it. It’s hysterical

DeltaFlyer123 April 29, 2021

You would think eventually everyone’s drivers license will expire and the replacement one will be RealID compliant, so what’s the big deal? The fact that it continually gets pushed aside is, as Orange County Commuter notes, not all that important after all.

temecularedwing April 29, 2021

Yet another example of American exceptionalism. Seriously folks, how difficult is it to obtain a compliant ID? Hopefully quicker than Metric Conversion Act as referenced by BobbyC777 above.

BobbyC777 April 29, 2021

These days if you miss a deadline just blame COVID! Gerald Ford signed the Metric Conversion Act in 1975. I'm still waiting for that.