Real ID Deadline Extended to 2021

April 1, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ways that state and local governments are being asked to combat the spread of this virus, the Department of Homeland Security has announced that they are extending the REAL ID enforcement deadline.

The REAL ID Act is a federal law that creates a heightened, more stringent process for states issuing driver’s licenses and ID cards if they are going to be accepted for federal purposes, such as boarding domestic flights or entering secure military installations or federal facilities that require ID.  Originally, the federal government planned to require a REAL ID compliant credential, or another federally approved form of ID, in order to board a domestic flight or enter a secure federal facility by October 1, 2020.  However, due to the rise of COVID-19 and the drastic steps governments are taking to limit exposure and slow the spread of the disease (including temporarily shutting down or limiting access to DMV offices), the federal government has extended this deadline to October 1, 2021.

Please find below a statement from the Acting Secretary of the Homeland Security, Chad Wolf:

“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. 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.

The federal, state and local response to the spread of the Coronavirus here in the United States necessitates a delay in this deadline. 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. States across the country are temporarily closing or restricting access to DMVs. This action will preclude millions of people from applying for and receiving their REAL ID. 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.

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.”

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.

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