Feds push REAL ID enforcement date to May 2023

The pandemic is causing the federal government to extend the full enforcement date for the REAL ID Act by 19 months.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced Tuesday that the full enforcement date will be switched from Oct. 1, 2021 to May 3, 2023.

DHS said the pandemic “has significantly impacted states’ ability to issue REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards, with many driver’s licensing agencies still operating at limited capacity.”

The delay will give states more time to reopen driver’s licensing operations, the agency said. Beginning May 3, 2023, every air traveler 18 years old and older will need a REAL ID-compliant 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.

DHS estimates that only 43 percent of all state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards are currently REAL ID-compliant, a rate held down by reduced access to licensing operations during the pandemic.

(Copyright (c) 2021 State House News Service.