By Miriam Raftery
March 30, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline for Americans to obtain a REAL ID has been extended by a year. The new deadline is October 1, 2021, avoiding the need for people to visit crowded DMV facilities during the pandemic in order to meet the prior deadline.
After that date, a REAL ID or a valid passport will be required for all airline flights in the U.S., as well as to enter federal facilities such as military bases.
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf made the announcement on the agency’s website, which states:
“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.”