Real ID Deadline Delayed Until Late 2021 Because of Coronavirus

The Department of Homeland Security has prolonged the deadline for Real ID enforcement by 12 months as a result of of the Covid-19 pandemic, suspending an already delayed authorities requirement for enhanced identification to board home flights.

The new deadline is Oct. 1, 2021, one 12 months from the earlier date, Chad Wolf, appearing secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, mentioned in an announcement on Thursday.

“The federal, state and local response to the spread of the coronavirus here in the United States necessitates a delay in this deadline,” Mr. Wolf mentioned. “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.”

The prolonged deadline may also permit the division to work with Congress to hold out wanted modifications to expedite the difficulty of Real IDs, he mentioned.

The Real ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 to increase security measures for state-issued personal identification cards, mainly driver’s licenses, that can be used to access airports, military bases and nuclear installations. The law was one of several steps taken by the federal government to strengthen identification procedures after Sept. 11, 2001, in part because some of the 9/11 hijackers had obtained driver’s licenses based on bogus documentation.

In order to receive a Real ID-compliant license, the Department of Homeland Security requires people to provide documentation showing their full legal name, date of birth, Social Security number, two proofs of address of principal residence and lawful status. Some states may require additional information.

Since the act was announced, some groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union of New York, have expressed concerns. The organization said the act could force hundreds of thousands of immigrants to lose their driver’s licenses because of errors made by D.M.V. agents who are required to sort through complex immigration laws.

The rollout has been delayed many times over the years after some states complained that the original deadline of 2008 was unreasonable.

Tori Emerson Barnes, an executive vice president at the U.S. Travel Association, a nonprofit representing the travel industry, said that according to the organization’s research, as many as 79 million Americans are not Real ID-compliant.

“Right now, we are obviously suffering major, catastrophic damage within the travel and tourism industry as a result of the public health crisis, Covid-19,” Ms. Barnes said on Friday.

The travel association praised the decision to extend the deadline, but said another extension may be required.

“We need to recover from the public health crisis and so we should consider where we are economically next year — that Real ID may have to be further delayed because we don’t need to do anything that would prevent folks from traveling once you get the all-clear,” Ms. Barnes said.

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