The Department of Homeland Security is extending the deadline for domestic air travelers to have a REAL ID by another two years. It is the third time that the government has extended the deadline.
The new deadline is now May 7, 2025.
Congress created the REAL ID program in 2005 following a 9/11 Commission recommendation. The REAL ID Act required all states to adopt minimum security standards for driver's licenses and identification cards.
"Security standards include incorporating anti-counterfeiting technology, preventing insider fraud, and using documentary evidence and record checks to ensure a person is who they claim to be."
The program has been delayed numerous times over the years. Most of the initial delays were the result of states struggling to set up the program.
Once all 50 states and Washington, D.C., created compliant licenses and ID cards, DHS set a deadline of October 1, 2020, and required all domestic travelers over the age of 18 to REAL ID-compliant identification. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the deadline was pushed back by a year. Then, the deadline was pushed back again until May 3, 2023.
DHS said the latest delay will give states more time to process the backlog of applications and ensure that everybody can obtain a new license or ID card.
"DHS continues to work closely with U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories to meet REAL ID requirements," said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. "This extension will give states needed time to ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card. DHS will also use this time to implement innovations to make the process more efficient and accessible. We will continue to ensure that the American public can travel safely."