REAL ID Act Extended Again

REAL ID Act saga continues. The Department of Homeland Security has postponed the deadline for compliance with this Act until May 3, 2023. The REAL ID Act became law in 2005 based on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. The Act authorized the Federal Government to set standards for issuing state IDs which prohibit federal agencies from accepting driver licenses and state IDs not meeting the minimum requirements, including clearance through TSA security checkpoints at airports. U.S airlines welcomed this extension, as the travel industry is recovering from the enormous impact of the pandemic.

REAL ID Act: Many Travelers in the U.S. are Unaware of the Requirements

A considerable number of travelers in the U.S are not aware of the requirements of the REAL ID Act and need to obtain a driver’s license or state-issued ID in compliance with them. DHS has confirmed that only 43 percent of adults in the U.S have REAL ID-compliant licenses, which might be a significant issue for many people when this law is enacted. Passengers who arrive at airports must have a REAL ID-compliant license or an alternative form of identification to proceed through TSA checkpoints. Individuals without REAL ID-compliant licenses will not be allowed to travel until they obtain one, which will cause significant disruption for passengers and airlines. 

DHS has extended the deadline because some states have not been able to issue compliant licenses, but this latest extension is also attributable to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. These have included DMVs’ extension of their deadlines to renew expiring licenses, fewer DMV visits during the pandemic, and DMVs’ reduced capacity to process renewals due to a shift to appointment-only scheduling. This two-year extension will now give travelers additional time to secure REAL ID-compliant documentation.

To enhance REAL ID compliance, DHS has issued an RFI (Request for Information) to inform that it would address security standards and requirements for issuance of mobile or digital driver license that would be REAL ID compliant.

Questions About REAL ID Compliance and How It May Affect Your Travel?

If you or a family member are immigrants with legal status, or if you are an undocumented immigrant and have any questions about the effect of REAL ID Compliance requirements on your travel plans, it is important to speak with a qualified immigration representative. Request a free immigration consultation with an immigration representative at Migration Resource Center today.