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That New ID You Need to Fly? You Can Keep Procrastinating

'Real ID' deadline is now May 2023 because of COVID-19
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 28, 2021 7:37 AM CDT
American Travelers Get Another 'Real ID' Reprieve
In this June 22, 2018, file photo a sample copy of a Washington drivers license is shown at the Washington state Dept. of Licensing office in Lacey, Wash.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

(Newser) – Americans will have more time to get the Real ID that they will need to board a flight or enter federal facilities. The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday extended the Real ID deadline a sizable 19 months, reports CNN—until May 3, 2023. The deadline had been Oct. 1, 2021, but it was becoming clear that many people wouldn’t make it, in part because the COVID-19 outbreak has made it harder for states to issue new licenses. Congress passed the Real ID Act in 2005 to establish minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards following a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission, reports the AP.

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People are getting compliant IDs as they renew, but it takes time and the process has been slowed by the pandemic, with many state agencies operating at limited capacity. DHS says only 43% of all driver’s licenses and identification cards are compliant, and Forbes reports the figure is increasing at a slow pace: Per a DHS rep, "The national adoption rate is increasing approximately .5% a month today, as compared to over 1% a month prior to the Covid-19 pandemic." Older IDs will be suitable to allow people to drive, buy liquor or other age-regulated products, and gamble at casinos, but the updated cards will be required for airport check-in and to enter federal facilities. However, travelers also can use military IDs or passports to access flights and federal facilities.

(Read more Real ID stories.)

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