Real ID Act Postponed Again Due to Continued Difficulties Obtaining New ID Cards Post-Pandemic
Real ID (DHS)

Real ID Enforcement Postponed Again Due to Continued Difficulties Obtaining New ID Cards Post-Pandemic

The United States has once again delayed the Real ID requirements, allowing travelers to continue using their current means of identification.

After years of delays and enforcement issues, the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday that the Real ID Act would not be enforced beginning May 2023 as previously scheduled. The new rollout date is set for May 2025.

DHS attributed this latest delay to “the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” which has made it more challenging to obtain accurate identification that is in compliance with the Real ID Act. Passed in 2005 in response to the 9/11 terror attacks, driver’s licenses and other government-issued identification cards require a star in the right-hand corner. Initially, the instatement deadline was 2008, which was pushed back 12 years to 2020. Due to the pandemic, obtaining new identification was nearly impossible due to closures, decreased staff, and an influx of sickened people. Again, the country extended the program to October 2021, which was not feasible either.

With the latest hold, DHS hopes to give states ample time to educate and ensure their residents can easily obtain the new IDs. The agency announced that they’d also do their best to make the process more efficient for all. Only 43% of all state-issued licenses and ID cards were deemed REAL ID-compliant as of last year, according to DHS.

Once the Real IDs are finally implemented, these cards will be required for anyone over 18 in order to fly anywhere within the county. Federal employees must also have these IDs to enter federal facilities such as military bases and nuclear power plants.

This process has continuously raised concerns, especially regarding immigrants, many of whom are not authorized to live in the United States. It may be increasingly hard for them to obtain the identification.

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