06 December 2022- You’ve been putting it off for (literally) years and it looks like you may be getting another reprieve. Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security in Washington announced its intent to extend the REAL ID full enforcement date by 24 months, from May 3, 2023, to May 7, 2025. This means your drivers license or any other form of ID you carry to go on a domestic flight or enter a secure federal building DOES NOT have to be REAL ID compliant.
While this does not affect most in Pennsylvania, Maryland, or West Virginia (and most states, in fact), if you have an ID from Minnesota or Missouri congrats on moving to the TriState Area! Ditch your old non-compliant IDs and switch to the new system. This has very little impact on you, other than having a slightly different license picture.
The extension, the Department says, is due to the “lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ability to obtain a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card”. The disease and subsequent shutdowns and slowdowns, they say, “hindered…state driver’s licensing agencies having to work through the backlogs”. While this may not affect most people, the backlog and slog of bureaucracy may be indicative of the issues caused by the pandemic.
This isn’t the first time the act has been extended. Passed in 2005 in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the act meant to streamline identification cards in airports but multiple states and US territories were slow to enact changes. That means that the IDs will most likely be fully rolled out 20 years after its passing. A substantial bulk of the people with REAL IDs will not have been alive at the time of the law’s signing, let alone the 9/11 attacks many of us remember vividly.