Real ID has been on the radar since 2005 (yep, that long). This act of Congress, “…modifies U.S. federal law pertaining to security, authentication, and issuance procedure standards for drivers’ licenses and identity documents, as well as various immigration issues pertaining to terrorism.”
It’s been put off a few times and, thanks to coronavirus, has just been put off again. Here are the details.
After several delays at the get-go, it was determined the rollout would happen in 4 phases. The first 3 phases were for specific personnel at specific facilities (i.e. DHS headquarters, nuclear power plants, and restricted and semi-restricted federal facilities such as military bases). In December 2013, the Department of Homeland security (DHS) announced the implementation of Phase 1 would begin in January, 2014.
The 4th phase was the one that affected the most people – those who flew via commercial airlines. That phase had its own share of delays because of the delays of the previous 3 phases, on top of states that requested extensions because their Real ID programs wouldn’t be ready in time for whatever deadline was on the table.
Finally, a solid date was set – October 1, 2020. Everyone had their ducks in a row – nearly all states were Real ID compliant and the small handful that weren’t, were at least on their way. Documentation and reminders were at airports so passengers knew that it was finally going to happen.
And then the world broke out in coronavirus.
We had a feeling that the Real I.D. deadline would be pushed back (yet again) when the TSA’s website was changed in mid-March to reflect allowing expired driver’s licenses to be used at checkpoints. So it was no surprise when DHS updated THEIR website to say the following:
“Due to circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the national emergency declaration, the Department of Homeland Security…is extending the REAL ID enforcement deadline beyond the current October 1, 2020 deadline. I have determined that states require a twelve-month delay and that the new deadline for REAL ID enforcement is October 1, 2021…
…Extending the deadline will also allow the Department to work with Congress to implement needed changes to expedite the issuance of REAL IDs once the current health crisis concludes.”
So now we all have until October 1, 2021 to become REAL I.D. compliant.
Keep in mind that if you don’t have a Real ID-compliant driver’s license by October 1, 2021, you also have the options at the bottom of this post.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary