Planners can put aside their concerns about REAL IDs until May of 2023.
The deadline for US travelers to present a REAL ID or another acceptable form of identification (like a passport) to board their flights has been moved from October 1, 2021 to May 2, 2023.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced the Department of Homeland Security is extending the enforcement date by 19 months due to circumstances resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has significantly impacted states’ ability to issue REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards, with many driver’s licensing agencies still operating at limited capacity.
Beginning May 3, 2023, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification at airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel.
All 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and four of five U.S. territories are now compliant with REAL ID security standards and are issuing compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards. However, many state licensing agencies have extended the deadline for renewing expiring licenses due to a widespread shift to appointment-only scheduling protocols during the pandemic that has significantly limited states’ capacity to issue REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards. As a result, only 43 percent of all state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards are currently compliant.