Real ID—What the New Deadline Means for You

Real ID new deadline

The weather has turned warm and you’re dreaming of travel. The good news is that to get on that flight for domestic travel, you now have a bit more time to get your REAL ID.

What is REAL ID?

A REAL ID is a U.S. driver’s license or ID that has heightened security. U.S. travelers will need to have a REAL ID to board domestic flights without a passport, as well as to access some government buildings.

What is the deadline for REAL ID?

If you had heard that the deadline was October 1, 2021, you heard right. But now the deadline has been pushed back to May 23, 2023.

Why was the date changed? The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every part of our lives, and it has also affected the deadline for REAL ID.

Since the operational capacity at most state driver’s licensing agencies was affected by the pandemic, renewing expiring licenses has taken more time. Most areas have seen a significant delay in processing.

To avoid further delays, the government set the deadline for REAL ID back by 19 months.

Do you need a REAL ID?

Yes, and no. Depending on the state you live in, REAL IDs might be mandatory.

However, even if REAL IDs are not mandatory in the state you live in, you will need to have a REAL ID for certain situations or be ready to show an alternate form of ID.

For instance, to get on domestic flights or access certain federal buildings you will either need a REAL ID or another federally accepted type of identification, such as a valid passport or military ID.

How do you get a REAL ID?

You’ll know at a glance if your driver’s license or ID is a REAL ID since all REAL ID cards have a star at the top.

Only 43% of US IDs are compliant with the new REAL ID standards. If your license or ID is not a REAL ID, you can visit the DHS REAL ID website. Scroll down to the map of the United States and click on your state.

From there you can see what documents are required and how to submit them to the DMV. The documents may include proof of identity, proof of Social Security number, proof of address, and proof of all legal name changes.

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