The 2005 Real ID Act, which mandates that U.S. travelers must carry greater than a regular driver’s license to board a domestic flight, was set to enter effect on May 3, 2023. But on Monday, after some 15 years of delays, the Department of Homeland Security pushed the deadline for enforcement by a further 24 months. Travelers now have until May 7, 2025, to update their documents.
The Real ID Act is a post-Sept. 11 law that requires U.S. travelers flying inside the USA to point out Transportation Security Administration agents either a security-enhanced driver’s license or one other T.S.A.-approved type of identification like a passport. When the act eventually goes into effect, a state driver’s license that doesn’t contain a Real ID seal will now not be accepted at airport security checkpoints across the country.
Congress passed the Real ID Act after finding that just about all the hijackers who boarded industrial planes on Sept. 11, 2001, were carrying U.S. driver’s licenses and state IDs, and that almost all of those documents had been obtained fraudulently. The act, which sets minimum standards for driver’s licenses and other kinds of identification cards, was initially intended to take effect in 2008. It has been prolonged multiple times, including twice in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Essentially the most recent rollout has been marked by confusion. While Real IDs show the applicant has been screened and approved by federal standards, the cards are issued by individual states, U.S. territories (aside from American Samoa, which is under review) and the District of Columbia. Processes for applying vary from state to state, and the physical look of the cardboard varies, too: Real ID cards are marked by a star, but its placement is inconsistent.
In some states, including Recent York, Michigan and Minnesota, residents have the choice choice to apply for an Enhanced Driver’s License, which is Real ID-compliant but is marked not by a star but a flag. Unlike Real IDs, E.D.L.s may also be used for travel to and from the USA by land or sea from Canada, Mexico and a few Caribbean countries in lieu of a passport.
And in Washington State, residents can only apply for an E.D.L. The usual Real ID license isn’t available in any respect.
This time around, it seemed the deadline for May 3, 2023, was going to stay, and state motorcar departments rolled out marketing campaigns to encourage residents to alter their documents in time. In lots of states, the switch to Real IDs requires a fee.
But this month, federal authorities determined that not enough residents were ready for the change, said Dan Velez, the Recent England spokesman for the T.S.A., and made the choice to increase the deadline two more years.
“Real ID progress over the past two years has been significantly hindered by state driver’s licensing agencies,” Mr. Velez said. “The extension is mandatory to offer states the needed time to make sure their residents obtain a Real ID-compliant license or identification card.”