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Update: Extension of the REAL ID Enforcement Deadline

Due to the national emergency declaration resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, several states have closed and/or restricted services at DMV offices, precluding millions of people from applying for a REAL ID.  Accordingly, on March 26, 2020, Acting Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Chad Wolf, announced that the deadline for enforcement of the REAL ID Act would be extended by one year to October 1, 2021.

The REAL ID Act was passed after the 9/11 attacks and set to establish minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards. The Act also requires that all domestic air travelers age 18 and over have identification that is  REAL ID-compliant: an enhanced driver’s license, or state-issued enhanced ID. REAL ID-compliant identifications are also required for admission into all Federal Buildings. The original deadline was set for October 1, 2020.

Extending the deadline will allow travelers to continue to use standard state-issued licenses and ID cards while DMV offices deal with an anticipated influx of applications and work to expedite the issuance of REAL IDs once the national emergency is lifted.

Please click here for the official release by the DHS.


Reminder: TSA Will Allow Travel with an Expired Driver’s License

The Transportation Security Administration continues to accept expired state driver’s licenses at airport security checkpoints. This temporary measure was put into place earlier this month due to the fact that many people have not been able to renew their driver’s licenses due to Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) office closures.

Travelers whose state driver’s licenses expired starting on March 1, 2020, who have not been able to renew, may continue to use the expired license as a form of ID at airport security. TSA is expected to keep this in place for at least 60 days after the COVID-19 national emergency is lifted.

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Colleen DiNicola

Legal Specialist, Immigration