Officials with the Department of Homeland Security have announced that they are once again postponing the requirement for Real ID for all travelers out to 2025 after multiple years of delays.
Congress originally passed the Real ID Act back in 2005, officially making a law out of a suggestion from the 9/11 Commission that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”
The law requires that travelers within the U.S. show a Real ID state identification card or a driver’s license when going through areas such as TSA security checkpoints at airports and many other federal locations. It was originally supposed to go into effect as of the 3rd of May, 2023, but is now slated to kick off on the 7th of May, 2025. This most recent pushback marks the third of its kind to push the start date past its first expected start. The first of those delays were set up due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The law was passed in the wake of discovering that almost all of the hijackers from September 11th possed state identification or U.S. driver’s licenses to get on commercial aircraft. They had reportedly managed to get the vast majority of the bits of identification fraudulently.
Various states mark the Real ID requirements differently, with places such as New York, Minnesota, and Michigan letting people instead get an Enhanced Driver’s License, which sports a flag instead of a star. These documents can be used by travelers in lieu of a passport for certain instances. Washington State currently only offers Enhanced Driver’s Licenses and does not even offer Real ID.
“Real ID progress over the past two years has been significantly hindered by state driver’s licensing agencies,” explained a New England Spokesman for the TSA, Dan Velez. “The extension is necessary to give states the needed time to ensure their residents obtain a Real ID-compliant license or identification card.”
Currently, the Department of Homeland Security is responsible for the program and has stated that the most recent of these delays are in part due to the “lingering impacts” of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
For the past few years, the group explained via a statement, advancement has been “significantly hindered by state driver’s licensing agencies having to work through the backlogs created by the pandemic,”
Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of Homeland Security, also spoke out about the delay of the implementation, highlighting that it will allow jurisdictions to ensure that people are able to get the licenses they would be required to have in order to travel.
“DHS continues to work closely with US states, the District of Columbia, and the US territories to meet REAL ID requirements,” stated Mayorkas in a release. “This extension will give states needed time to ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card.”