Real ID enforcement deadline delayed for one year

March 27, 2020

Land Line Staff


The deadline for Real ID has been pushed back a year, the Department of Homeland Security has announced.

“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 Oct. 1, 2020, deadline,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said in a news release. “I have determined that states require a 12-month delay and that the new deadline for Real ID enforcement is Oct. 1, 2021. DHS will publish a notice of the new deadline in the Federal Register in the coming days.”

The National Governors Association requested at least a yearlong delay in a letter to Wolf on March 17.

Among the reasons cited for delaying the deadline were the widespread closures of driver’s licensing offices around the country.

“We believe an extension will allow all of us to focus our efforts on combatting the spread and severity of COVID-19,” the group wrote. “More time will also give Congress the ability to pass legislation that will update the 2005 Real ID Act and bring it up to speed with today’s technology. This will also give DHS time to make regulatory changes.”

Real ID Act

The Real ID Act established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.

“The federal, state and local response to the spread of the coronavirus here in the United States necessitates a delay in this deadline,” Wolf said. “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 (departments of motor vehicles). 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.”

The March 26 announcement follows President Donald Trump’s announcement earlier this week that  there would be a delay for Real ID enforcement.