DHS Extends REAL ID Act Deadline

After the September 11 attacks on US targets, Congress passed and the President signed into law the REAL ID Act. This law established minimum-security standards, country-wide, with state-issued driver licenses and state-issued ID cards. All domestic air travelers, age 18 and over, must have a REAL ID compliant driver license or state-issued ID. A state-issued REAL ID will also be required for admission into Federal Buildings. The deadline to secure a state-issued driver license or state-issued ID was set for October 1, 2020.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the current national state of emergency, many states have limited the service of their Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This prevents millions of people from applying for the new driver license or ID to comply with REAL ID Act.  On March 26, 2020, Acting Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Chad Wolf, declared that the deadline for implementation of the REAL ID Act would be extended by one year to October 1, 2021.

Click here to read the official release by DHS.

This extension allows millions of travelers to continue to use their existing state-issued licenses and ID cards. In addition, the DMV offices have more time to deal with the influx of applications they expect as soon as national emergency restrictions are lifted.

Meanwhile, as of March 1, 2020, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will allow travelers to use non-REAL ID driver licenses at the airport’s security checkpoints. The TSA plans to keep this rule in effect for sixty days, when the national emergency for COVID-19 is expected to end.

BY: Frederik Stefani, April 2, 2020

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