WASHINGTON — U.S. security officials say they are extending the REAL ID enforcement date again — meaning you won't need one to fly until May 2025.
The Department of Homeland Security said in a Monday news release that it is extending the deadline by two full years, from May 3, 2023 to May 7, 2025. It said pandemic-related backlogs have slowed states' progress in issuing REAL ID compliant driver's licenses.
"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 N. Mayorkas said in the release. "DHS will also use this time to implement innovations to make the process more efficient and accessible. We will continue to ensure that the American public can travel safely.”
The REAL ID Act became law in 2005, establishing minimum security requirements for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards. The REAL ID is marked with a star and requires a tougher identity check.
The original enforcement deadline was 2016. It has been delayed several times, most recently in April 2021. After the deadline, adults will need a REAL ID or another acceptable form of identification, like a passport or passport card, to fly domestically. Some federal buildings are also affected.
A FAQ page on the DHS's website says as of March 2021, 55 states and territories were "fully compliant with the REAL ID requirements, and all states are on track to begin issuing compliant licenses and IDs by the May 7, 2025 deadline."
VERIFY contributed to this report.