Air travelers are given more time to secure Real ID

Travelers will have another two years before they need to present Real ID-complaint identification to fly domestically, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said today.

Citing the “lingering impacts” of Covid-19 on the ability to obtain a Real ID driver’s license or identification card, the DHS said an extension from May 3, 2003, to May 7, 2025 was “necessary.”

“Real ID progress over the past two years has been significantly hindered by state driver’s licensing agencies having to work through the backlogs created by the pandemic,” the DHS said in a statement.

Time to improve the process

Secretary of homeland security Alejandro Mayorkas added that the DHS will also use the additional time “to implement innovations to make the process more efficient and accessible.”

The Real ID Act of 2005 requires U.S. travelers to present a state-issued driver’s license or identification card that meets increased security standards. The deadline for its enforcement has been extended several times, and even before the pandemic, lawmakers had pushed to head off travel disruption caused by the Real ID deadlines, such as allowing PreCheck membership to be an alternative to Real IDs at domestic airports and allowing people to submit electronic documents and facial images when applying for the IDs.

As of now, starting May 7, 2025, every air traveler 18 and older will need Real ID-compliant identification at security checkpoints for domestic travel, such as a state-issued, enhanced driver’s license or another TSA-acceptable form of ID, such as a passport.

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