The deadline for those needing to obtain a Real ID has been extended one year as the U.S. deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Due to circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the national emergency declaration, the Department of Homeland Security, as directed by President Donald J. Trump, is extending the REAL ID enforcement deadline beyond the current October 1, 2020 deadline,” Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said in a news release. “I have determined that states require a twelve-month delay and that the new deadline for REAL ID enforcement is October 1, 2021. DHS will publish a notice of the new deadline in the Federal Register in the coming days.”
Beginning Oct. 1, 2021, Real IDs will be the only ID card accepted to use as identification to board a plane for a domestic flight.
Licenses and ID cards that are not Real ID compliant will be marked “Not for Federal Official Use” and will not be accepted by Transportation Security Administration agents. Real IDs will look similar to noncompliant driver’s licenses and identification cards but feature a gold star in the top right-hand corner.
If a traveler doesn’t have a Real ID after Oct. 1 next year, he or she will have to provide another form of identification such as U.S. passport, Military ID or U.S. issued immigration documents to board a domestic flight.
The Real ID Act was established in 2005, with a phased-implementation plan announced in 2013, adding minimum security standards for license issuance and production, and prohibiting federal agencies from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the act’s minimum standards. Aside from using for air travel purposes, Real IDs will be needed to access federal facilities and to enter nuclear power plants.
Nevada has been issuing Real ID cards since November 2014.
The response at all levels of the U.S. government to the spread of the novel coronavirus spurred the delay in the Real ID deadline, Wolf added.
“Our state and local partners are working tirelessly with the Administration to flatten the curve and, therefore, we want to remove any impediments to response and recovery efforts,” Wolf said.
Nevada and other states are temporarily closing or restricting access to DMV offices, which has prevented millions of people from applying for and receiving their Real ID.
DMV offices in Nevada closed last week to mitigate the possible spread of the new coronavirus among state employees, their families and the public.
“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,” Wolf said. “Protecting both the health and national security of the American people continues to be the top priority for the President of the United States and the Department of Homeland Security.”