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The Real ID Deadline Has Been Extended

By Michelle Baran

Mar 27, 2020

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The Department of Homeland Security announced a new Real ID deadline this week—and it’s a gracious extension.

Photo by Mark Van Scyoc/Shutterstock

The Department of Homeland Security announced a new Real ID deadline this week—and it’s a gracious extension.

President Trump this week announced that the federal government will delay the requirement for getting a Real ID—and now we know until when.

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During his daily press briefing on Monday, President Donald Trump revealed that the federal government planned to extend the deadline for obtaining a Real ID beyond October 1, 2020.

“At a time when we’re asking Americans to maintain social distancing, we do not want to require people to go with their local DMV [Department of Motor Vehicles],” President Trump said at the White House briefing.

A few days later, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealed that the new deadline is October 1, 2021.

“Due to circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the national emergency declaration . . . I have determined that states require a 12-month delay,” stated Chad Wolf, acting DHS secretary.

Wolf noted that states throughout the country are temporarily closing or restricting access to DMVs as part of the larger effort to “flatten the curve,” a term used to describe measures such as social distancing and issuing shelter-in-place orders intended to help prevent a rapid and massive surge of coronavirus cases that would overwhelm the country’s healthcare system.

“Extending the deadline will also allow [DHS] to work with Congress to implement needed changes to expedite the issuance of Real IDs once the current health crisis concludes,” stated Wolf.

In February, DHS reported that it was looking into ways to streamline the application process—including allowing applicants to submit their required documentation electronically.

Everything You Need to Know About Getting a Real ID

What’s a Real ID again?

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A Real ID is a newer form of driver’s license or identification card that meets certain minimum security standards established by the Real ID Act in 2005 (a response to recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission following the attacks on September 11, 2001). The new standards are intended to ensure that identification cards are more secure.

By the new October 1, 2021, deadline, all U.S. travelers 18 and older (kids traveling domestically with an adult don’t need to provide identification) will be required to present a driver’s license to U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents that is considered Real ID compliant when passing through airport security in order to be able to fly domestically.

If you don’t have a compliant ID by that date, you will have to show another acceptable form of identification to fly within the United States, such as a valid passport, permanent resident card, or DHS trusted traveler program card, such as Global Entry or Nexus.

How to Renew Your U.S. Passport

How do you get a Real ID?

Getting a Real ID typically involves providing your state’s DMV with some additional documentation. For instance, to get a Real ID in California, you need to make an appointment at a California DMV office and supply an identifying document (such as a passport or birth certificate), proof of your Social Security number (such as your Social Security card or a W-2 form), and proof of California residency.

>> Next: Everything You Need to Know About Getting a New U.S. Passport

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