Real ID deadline for air travelers extended by 2 years

FILE: Passengers stand in a security line at O’Hare International Airport on November 22, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois, ahead of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

Kamil Kraszynski/AFP via Getty Images

Air travelers will now have two more years to upgrade their licenses and other forms of identification Real ID-Compliant,

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on Monday that the new deadline will be May 7, 2025, giving Americans more time after the delay caused by the COVID pandemic. The old cutoff was set for May 3, 2023.

Americans who want to trade their license or ID for a compliant real ID, which has a star symbol on the top of the card, must go through more stringent ID checks during application. According to DHS, the security features on Real ID are designed to prevent forgery and fraud, using documentary evidence and records checks to verify travelers are who they claim to be. Passengers 18 years of age or older will need real ID to board a plane, enter a federal building or military base. Passports, military IDs, or Global Entry cards will also be eligible to pass through airport security.

The Real ID Act was passed in the wake of 9/11 terrorist attacks After several hijackers improperly obtained state IDs. All 50 US states, the District of Columbia, and four of the five US territories are covered by the REAL ID Act.

Under the law, after the enforcement deadline, federal agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), will not accept driver’s licenses and identification cards that do not meet REAL ID standards.

Over the past decade, REAL ID enforcement has repeatedly stalled after states failed to comply with security requirements for issuing updated driver’s licenses. But officials say this time it’s covid-19 pandemic That’s at fault, preventing Americans from accessing state motor vehicle departments to retrieve updated identification. According to the DHS, Real ID progress over the past two years has been “significantly hampered” by the backlog at state driver’s licensing agencies created by the pandemic.

States have primary responsibility for increasing the Real ID adoption rate, which currently stands at 52%, according to a DHS official, according to data provided by the state.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement Monday that the extension “will give states the time they need to ensure that their residents can obtain a Real ID-compliant license or identification card,” adding, “DHS is Will also use the time to implement innovations. Make the process more efficient and accessible.”

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