DHS delays REAL ID compliance to 2025

The Department of Homeland Security has again postponed its planned roll out of the Real ID-compliant licenses required for air travelers 18 and over boarding flights in the United States — a nod to concerns that not enough Americans have compliant forms of identification.

Citing lingering Covid-19 backlogs, DHS announced Monday that May 7, 2025, will be the new compliance date. The agency has postponed the deadline several times due to the pandemic, with the most recent deadline being May 3, 2023.

“This extension will give states needed time to ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement, pledging the department would use this time “to make the process more efficient and accessible.”

According to the U.S. Travel Association, an estimated 83 million Americans, roughly 34 percent“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:”https://www.ustravel.org/sites/default/files/2022-06/realid_talkingpoints_ust_2022.pdf”,”_id”:”00000184-e3b2-d673-a9bc-fbba2a43000a”,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000184-e3b2-d673-a9bc-fbba2a43000b”,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>roughly 34 percent, are still without an enhanced form of ID that would be accepted to travel, which includes a U.S. passport or passport card, U.S. military ID, or DHS trusted traveler cards.

Once the policy goes into effect, TSA will be “prohibited from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards that do not meet these federal standards,” DHS said.

Airports Council International – North America on Monday praised the extension, which will give state drivers’ licensing agencies more time to process compliant identifications.

“Despite previous extensions to REAL ID implementation, the saturation of REAL ID compliant licenses and identification cards remains low,” ACI-NA president Kevin Burke said in a statement. “This extension will allow individuals more time to obtain compliant identification, helping to prevent undue travel disruptions and preserving the health of the aviation system as we continue to navigate the pandemic’s impacts on global air travel.”


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