WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is once again extending its enforcement date for requiring people to have REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses to fly in the U.S.
COVID-19 pandemic safety protocols have limited activities at license issuing offices across the country, leading the DHS to announce Tuesday it is extending the REAL ID full enforcement date by 19 months, from October 1 to May 3, 2023.
The REAL ID program is aimed at establishing a consistent security standard for issuing driver’s licenses and other identification. Once enforcement is in effect, travelers age 18 and older flying commercially in the U.S. will need to have a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or other state photo identity card, which should be marked by a star on the top of the card. Passports and other forms of approved identification will still be accepted.
The DHS says all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and several U.S. territories are compliant with REAL ID security standards, but only 43 percent of U.S. IDs are currently compliant, because of pandemic-era limitations.
The DHS first rolled back the deadline for the federally mandated identification program a year from October 1, 2020 until October 1, 2021 at the early stages of the pandemic last year.
The DHS says extending the enforcement deadline for REAL IDs will give states time to reopen their driver’s licensing operations and ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card.
The time will be used by states to implement requirements mandated by the REAL ID Modernization Act, such as those related to electronic document submission.
Information on turning a regular Michigan driver’s license or state ID card into a REAL ID can be found on the Michigan Secretary of State website.