As vaccines roll out, mask requirements are lifted and warmer weather begins to peek through the spring clouds, you might be thinking about planning some travel this summer or fall.
Well, good news. You won’t have to worry about the deadline for REAL ID compliance this year. Because many driver’s licensing agencies are still operating at limited capacity due to the pandemic, the deadline for REAL ID compliance has been extended until May 3, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday.
By the new May 2023 deadline, adults 18 and older will have to ensure their driver’s license is REAL ID-compliant, or acquire another accepted form of identification — like a passport — in order to fly within the United States.
Under the 2005 REAL-ID Act, federal agencies, including the TSA, are barred from accepting state-issued driver’s licenses or identification cards that do not meet the established minimum security standards, which are available on the DHS website.
Last year, the original October 2020 deadline was extended until October 2021 to encourage social distancing in response to the pandemic.
Only 43% of all state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards in the U.S. are currently REAL ID-compliant, according to DHS. The extension will give states time to create more streamlined processes for issuing compliant IDs.
“Getting to REAL ID compliance on time was already going to be a challenge before COVID shut down DMVs for extended periods,” wrote a U.S. Travel Association spokesperson in a statement released Tuesday. “Significant travel disruption was likely if the deadline were allowed to hit, which the U.S. economy can’t afford after a $500 billion decline in travel spending last year and millions of travel jobs lost to the pandemic.”