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Updated Oct. 2, 2020.
The U.S. Travel Association is asking the Department of Homeland Security to delay the enforcement of the Real ID Act. The legislation, which currently is set to take effect on Oct. 1, 2021, 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. 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 Real ID Act originally was set to take effect yesterday. In March, the Department of Homeland Security decided to delay the deadline for one year because of the pandemic. Now, U.S. Travel is calling for another delay. According to the association, it is unrealistic to expect Americans to secure a Real ID within the next 12 months, and keeping with the current deadline could negatively impact the travel industry, which is among the sectors hardest hit by the Covid-19 crisis.
"With the U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimating that little more than one-third of Americans have Real IDs, full compliance is not realistically within reach in time for the Oct. 1, 2021, deadline," read the U.S. Travel Association statement. "In order to avoid disruption to air travel at a time when travel will be vital for powering a national economic and jobs recovery, the federal government should again push back the REAL ID enforcement deadline."
U.S. Travel did not recommend a new deadline date, but instead suggested that the delay last until "measures are in place to prevent a scenario in which flyers are turned away at airport security checkpoints." According to U.S. Travel, this should include:
- Allowing TSA Precheck enrollment to serve as an acceptable Real ID alternative.
- Developing procedures to process passengers who don’t have a Real ID.
- Authorizing states to use modern identity-verification options, which were not available when the Real ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005.
"Travel supported 15.8 million American jobs prior to the pandemic, half of which were wiped out as of May 1. The last thing the struggling travel sector needs is a looming deadline that will stunt recovery — or, worse, trigger a new decline. Congress should therefore direct the Department of Homeland Security to certify that air travel will not be negatively affected by Real ID enforcement before setting a new deadline," continued the statement. "We stand ready to work with Congress and the executive branch to ensure the safety and security of air travel and identification standards, and to help Real ID be achieved on a workable timetable."