The Real ID deadline has been pushed back yet again. The Department of Homeland Security deadline for enforcement will shift back another 24 months, from May 2023 to May 2025, the agency said Monday. After that date, federal agencies like the TSA will no longer accept driver's licenses and other forms of identification that do not meet federal standards.
The Real ID act was passed by Congress in 2005 in the wake of 9/11 as a way to more accurately verify an individual's identity. It created minimum security standards for state-issued IDs, including anti-counterfeiting technology, as well as a more stringent application process.
Real ID enforcement has been plagued by delays from the start. Enforcement of the program was originally set to begin in May 2008, but states continuously asked for extensions during the 14 years that followed.
"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," Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the Secretary of Homeland Security, said in a release Monday.
The new deadline was granted so that driver's license agencies can get through the backlog of applicants created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many agencies temporarily shifted to an appointment-only setting during the pandemic, which meant that they could process fewer people a day, while some states automatically extended the expiration dates of licenses so citizens didn't have to visit offices in person. Many states require their residents to appear in person in order to get a Real ID.