Passed by Congress in 2005 as a response to the Sept. 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Real ID Act requires stricter documentation for boarding flights and entering federal or nuclear facilities. For example, to get a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or state ID card, you need to provide paperwork for your name, date of birth, address, Social Security card and birth certificate.
The DHS says the requirements increase state IDs’ reliability and accuracy. Officials can quickly see whether a card is Real ID-compliant by looking for the gold star in the upper right-hand corner.
When the bill passed, states initially had a 2008 compliance deadline. But after some states and US territories refused to play ball, the cutoff faced delay after delay. Despite the ever-shifting deadlines, 13 states rolled out support in 2012. The list grew in the following years as reluctant states faced the prospect of having their residents blocked from flights. But the COVID-19 pandemic led to even more kicking of the can, and today’s cutoff point pushes it back from May 2023 to May 2025.
“DHS continues to work closely with US states, the District of Columbia, and the US territories to meet Real ID requirements,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas in a news release today. “This extension will give states needed time to ensure their residents can obtain a Real ID-compliant license or identification card. DHS will also use this time to implement innovations to make the process more efficient and accessible. We will continue to ensure that the American public can travel safely.”
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