Updated Dec. 5, 2022
The Department of Homeland Security has delayed the enforcement of the Real ID Act an additional two years from May 3, 2023 to May 7, 2025. 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. 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 has been postponed a number of times due to the pandemic. It was originally scheduled to take effect on Oct. 1, 2020. Today, the Department of Homeland Security announced that the deadline for enforcement would be pushed back another 24 months, as Covid-19 has continued to impact the ability of states to issue Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses. According to the agency, many DMVs are still dealing with a backlog created by the pandemic.
"This extension will give states needed time to ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card," said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. "DHS will also use this time to implement innovations to make the process more efficient and accessible.”
The U.S. Travel Association praised the move. In a statement, Tori Barnes, executive vice president of public affairs and policy, said the extension was "the right decision," as more than 100 million Americans are still lacking a Real ID.
"This delay helps give travelers the time necessary to get the credential needed to fly domestically," said Barnes. She also noted that "it remains critical that DHS identify ways to modernize identification standards to make the entire travel process more efficient."
Delaying Real ID enforcement is expected to help the travel industry continue to recover from the pandemic. According to the U.S. Travel Association's biannual forecast, domestic travel spending is not expected to exceed 2019 levels until 2024. Meanwhile, the volume of domestic business trips will not likely surpass prepandemic numbers until 2025.