Department of Homeland Security extends REAL ID deadline to May 2023

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WHTM) — Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced Tuesday that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending the REAL ID enforcement deadline by 19 months, from October 1, 2021 to May 3, 2023 due to circumstances from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“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.” 

This change was made due to states being unable to issue REAL ID’s with many driver’s license centers still operating at limited capacities.

Beginning May 3, 2023, every air traveler age 18 and up 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.

Only 43 percent of all state-issued driver’s license or identification cards are currently REAL ID-compliant. For more information on REAL ID, click here.

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