The deadline for Americans to obtain a REAL ID card has been pushed back once again due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security announced on Tuesday.
The new enforcement date is now May 3, 2023.
U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes issued the following statement:
“Extending the REAL ID deadline is the right move, and we’re grateful to DHS for heeding the evidence and the calls from our industry. Getting to REAL ID compliance on time was already going to be a challenge before COVID shut down DMVs for extended periods. Significant travel disruption was likely if the deadline were allowed to hit, which the U.S. economy can’t afford after a $500 billion decline in travel spending last year and millions of travel jobs lost to the pandemic.”
The REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.
The regulation was put in place in 2005 to ensure that travelers’ identity in light of the 9/11 attacks, according to the DHS, but only recently did all 50 states come into compliance.
Last year, the deadline was pushed back to October 1, 2021, after the coronavirus outbreak. State governors had been pushing for the enforcement date to be delayed again as the country continues to recover from the pandemic.