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A Real ID Card Won’t Be Required For Travel Until 2023

by Timothy Rawles

On Tuesday, April 27, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas sent out a statement that a REAL ID won’t be mandatory until May 3, 2023. That is an extension from the original date of October 1, 2021.

This change is just another byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic which has severely overloaded government institutions such as the DMV and Social Security. These agencies are still on a limited capacity schedule and processing applications is currently experiencing delays. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expected to put out an official release regarding the deadline extension.

“Protecting the health, safety, and security of our communities is our top priority,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “As our country continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, extending the REAL ID full enforcement deadline will give states needed time to reopen their driver’s licensing operations and ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card.” 

The REAL ID in some form will be required for every domestic traveler who is 18 or older starting May 3, 2023. Other documents such as Passports, Military identification cards and other acceptable forms approved by Homeland Security will still be accepted at security checkpoints in lieu of a REAL ID.

All United States, its territories (except American Somoa which is still under review), and the District of Columbia, are compliant with the REAL ID Act and their government agencies are currently issuing these enhancements on approved personal government identification cards.

Many states are experiencing such a delay in processing that many of their licensing agencies are extending deadlines for expiring documents, according to DHS.

“As a result, only 43 percent of all state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards are currently REAL ID-compliant.  DHS and various states also need time to implement requirements mandated by the REAL ID Modernization Act, including changes that will streamline processing by allowing the electronic submission of certain documents.”

The Department of Homeland Security says it continues to work closely with all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories to implement REAL ID Act requirements. For more information on REAL ID, click HERE.

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