DHS Announces Extension of REAL ID Enforcement Deadline

REAL ID Enforcement Deadline

DHS Announces Extension of REAL ID Enforcement Deadline

The Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas has announced the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending the REAL ID full enforcement date by 19 months. Instead of kicking in on October 1, 2021, it will delayed once again, until May 3, 2023. The latest delay comes 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’s licensing agencies still operating at limited capacity.

“Protecting the health, safety, and security of our communities is our top priority,” said Secretary Mayorkas in the press release. “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.”

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 TSA-acceptable form of identification at airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel.

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. But, 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. As a result, only 43% of all state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards are currently REAL ID-compliant.

Acceptable Identification

Adult passengers 18 and over must show valid identification at the airport checkpoint in order to travel. These are the options listed om the DHS website:

  • Driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
  • Permanent resident card
  • Border crossing card
  • State-issued Enhanced Driver’s License
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
  • Transportation worker identification credential
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential

The following are not acceptable:

  • Weapon permit
  • Temporary driver’s license is not an acceptable form of identification

TSA and most airlines do not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling within the United States with an adult companion who has acceptable identification. Contact the airline for questions regarding specific ID requirements for travelers under 18.

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