The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that due to circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the national emergency declaration, their agency is extending the REAL ID enforcement deadline by a year. The new deadline for REAL ID compliance is now October 1, 2021. Below is the DHS rationale for this extension:
“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.”
This extension means that for purposes of domestic flights in the United States, Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) and airlines’ agents may still accept the Drivers licenses or identifications that are not REAL-ID compliant until October 1, 2021. And since there is a one year extension, those who are eligible to apply for a REAL ID compliant license must do so without further delay. Those individuals who do not have legal status usually are not granted driver’s licenses or identifications that are not REAL-ID compliant. It will also be prudent to seek ways on how to legalize immigration status if there are available legal options.