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Real ID license deadline delayed to 2023

The cutoff to switch over to a Real ID was supposed to be in 2020, but the pandemic continues to push the enforcement date back.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
Real ID sample
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Real ID sample

A star in the right-hand corner denotes the Real ID.

Ohio Department of Public Safety

Don't go rushing to your local DMV to swap your current ID for a Real ID. On Tuesday, the US Department of Homeland Security announced it will once again delay enforcement of the Real ID requirement, this time to May 3, 2023.

The new delay marks the second time the federal government has postponed the deadline for the more secure form of identification. The US first delayed enforcement to Oct. 1, 2021, from Oct.1, 2020, back in March 2020 as COVID-19 gripped the US.

On Tuesday, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas cited the ongoing challenges related to the pandemic as the motivating factor for a second delay.

"Extending the Real ID full enforcement deadline will give states needed time to reopen their driver's licensing operations and ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card," Mayorkas said in a statement.

A Real ID will be paramount for boarding any passenger aircraft when May 3, 2023, rolls around. Without it, passengers will need to show two forms of ID to board, such as a standard driver's license that's not a Real ID, plus a US passport. A Real ID also requires far more documentation than the typical ID renewal. If you're not sure whether you already have a Real ID form of identification, look for a star in the upper right-hand corner.

The US Travel Association said this past October that another delay was preferable, noting that the enforcement may hinder economic recovery for the travel sector. In other words, loads of people showing up to airports with invalid forms of identification could hurt the travel industry more than it already is. As of last year, only one-third of Americans held a Real ID license, according to the DHS.

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