REAL ID deadline extended again

New York State REAL ID sample (New York State DMV)

Federal authorities will again delay the requirement for enhanced driver licenses and identification cards due to the pandemic.

The Department of Homeland Security will not require the new REAL ID cards until May 3, 2023.  The REAL ID deadline was originally Oct. 1, 2020, but that was initially pushed back to Oct. 1, 2021.

Homeland Security says the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the ability of people to comply with the new rules.


Beginning May 3, 2023, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver's license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification at airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel.  A valid U.S. passport will be accepted.  

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All 50 U.S. states are issuing REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses but only 43 percent of all state-issued cards are currently REAL ID-compliant.

The stricter rules governing identification that is acceptable for boarding planes, entering federal buildings (including courthouses), and military bases come from the REAL ID Act, which the U.S. Congress passed in 2005, based on the 9/11 Commission's recommendation that federal government "set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses."

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