The deadline to have a Real ID for air travel is Spring 2023, but some in the travel industry want it postponed again to give us all more time to get identification that meets updated security requirements.
The deadline was pushed back several times since 2020, because the Covid-19 Pandemic caused delays in renewing driver’s licenses and other official ID such as a passport and Global Entry.
A compliant Real ID will be required by travelers 18 or older to board a plane, enter a federal building or a military base. Passports, military IDs or Global Entry cards also will qualify to get through airport security.
Americans must undergo a more stringent ID check when applying for a REAL ID-compliant card, which incorporates enhanced security features that prevent counterfeiting, including scannable bar codes, digital photos, even holograms.
State licensing agencies in several states have shifted to appointment-only scheduling amid the pandemic, closing the window of opportunity for many Americans to update their licenses. And now, there’s catch-up to get an updated and compliant driver’s license.
DHS also says that various state agencies also need time to implement requirements mandated by the REAL ID Modernization Act, which includes changes to streamline processing by allowing some documents to be submitted online.
According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), about 119 million of the 274 million state-issued driver’s licenses and IDs are REAL ID-compliant, or about 43%.
Protecting the health, safety, and security of our communities is our top priority,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.
“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.”
Why You Need a Real ID
A compliant Real ID has a star symbol at the top of the card
The Real ID Act was passed in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks after several of the hijackers improperly obtained state IDs. All 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and four of five U.S. territories are covered by the REAL ID Act, which includes Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005, sets standards for which forms of identification are accepted by the federal government, including the TSA, to board any commercial flight and enter federal facilities including office buildings and military bases.
In other words – I’m putting this in bold for emphasis –
You will not be able to get into a federal building building without identification that meets REAL ID requirements.
You will need Real ID-compliant identification to visit an IRS office to defend yourself in an audit, or a US courthouse to defend yourself against a criminal charge. Your accountant or attorney also will need a Real ID to help defend you.
You will need Real ID compliant identification to get into a US Passport office to apply for a passport. If you are renewing, no problem, because you need your expiring passport to renew, and that is acceptable REAL ID identification.
Check the official DHS Real ID website page to make a plan with your state DMV to update your license in time for the May 2023 deadline – don’t plan on yet another postponement..
Images courtesy DHS
This article was published originally in April 2021 and has been revised and updated for June 2022.