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UPDATED March 26, 2020, at 5:15 p.m. EDT
Enforcement of the Real ID Act will be delayed one year to October 1, 2021. The Department of Homeland Security made the announcement on March 26, a few days after President Donald Trump said the deadline would be pushed back.
The legislation will require all travelers to present a Real ID-compliant driver's license or photo ID card, or another form of federally acceptable identification (such as a valid passport or military ID) to board domestic commercial flights. The deadline, which had previously been set for October 1, 2020, has been pushed back due to coronavirus concerns and the need for social distancing.
A new survey from market-research consultancy Longwoods International found that 65 percent of Americans do not have a Real ID-compliant driver's license or are unsure if they do. In order to get a Real ID, travelers would need to visit their local DMV with the required documentation (proof of identity, proof of social security, proof of residency and proof of name change, if applicable).
"The federal, state and local response to the spread of the coronavirus here in the United States necessitates a delay in this deadline," read the Department of Homeland Security statement. "Our state and local partners are working tirelessly with the Administration to flatten the curve and, therefore, we want to remove any impediments to response and recovery efforts. States across the country are temporarily closing or restricting access to DMVs. This action will preclude millions of people from applying for and receiving their Real ID. Extending the deadline will also allow the Department to work with Congress to implement needed changes to expedite the issuance of Real IDs once the current health crisis concludes."
U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow applauded the move but cautioned that a longer extension may be necessary.
"The already difficult task of bringing the country closer to Real ID compliance is now clearly impossible due to the coronavirus crisis," said Dow in a statement. "Over the next 18 months people will be focused on building their lives back, not going to the DMV. The economic damage of coronavirus is already massive, and as we move toward a recovery phase it would be awful if the Real ID deadline hits and creates yet another obstacle to people traveling."