WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as directed by President Trump, has extended the REAL ID enforcement deadline to 12 months beyond this year’s deadline, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new deadline is now October 21, 2021.
Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement that the department will publish a notice of the new deadline in the Federal Register in the coming days.
“The federal, state and local response to the spread of the coronavirus here in the U.S. necessitates a delay in this deadline,” Wolf said. “Our state and local partners are working tirelessly with the administration to flatten the curve and, therefore, we want to remove any impediments to response and recovery efforts.
“States across the country are temporarily closing or restricting access to DMVs. This action will preclude millions of people from applying for and receiving their REAL ID. Extending the deadline will also allow the Department to work with Congress to implement needed changes to expedite the issuance of REAL IDs once the current health crisis concludes.”
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson lauded the administration for pushing the deadline to apply for REAL IDs.
“I am grateful that DHS heard the call and responded to the need to extend this deadline given the limitations and stress of this unprecedented moment,” Benson said in a statement. “This extension reduces the immediate pressure on Michiganders to get a REAL ID compliant credential and should help prevent crowds rushing to get them when our offices reopen.”
Starting Tuesday, all 131 Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) branch offices have been closed as part of Governor Whitmer’s stay-at-home order. Many services will remain available online at Michigan.gov/SOS, although there may be some delays in processing. The Secretary of State’s Office will continue to provide election-related services not offered in branch offices at Michigan.gov/Vote.
What are REAL IDs?
Under the federal REAL ID Act, Michigan residents boarding a domestic flight or entering certain federal facilities, military bases and nuclear power plants must show a REAL ID-compliant document beginning Oct. 1, 2021 (the new deadline). DHS has more information about the REAL ID Act, including frequently asked questions.
Enhanced licenses and enhanced state IDs that don’t have a star are already REAL ID compliant (and will be printed with the star when renewed or replaced).