The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that the deadline for air travelers to upgrade to the REAL ID has been extended again. The new REAL ID deadline which will be required for those flying domestically in the US is now May 7, 2025. Here's the latest news and why this deadline was shifted yet again.
Third Times The Charm? REAL ID Deadline Moved Yet Again
The REAL ID Act was first instituted in 2005, following the September 11th attacks, to enhance driver's license security. This act required states to upgrade how they issue driver's licenses and then — importantly — roll out these upgrades to the public.
This roll out has now been shifted 3 times. Here are the past REAL ID deadlines:
- Original deadline October 2020
- Initial pandemic delay to October 2021
- Second pandemic delay in April 2021, moving deadline to May 2023
- Third pandemic delay in December 2022, moving deadline to May 2025
Why Have There Been REAL ID Delays?
According to the Department of Homeland Security, "REAL ID progress over the past two years has been significantly hindered by state driver’s licensing agencies having to work through the backlogs created by the pandemic".
The DHS says that this additional shift will give states more time to ensure their residents can obtain REAL ID compliant licenses.
Who Needs To Get a REAL ID?
Currently to pass through TSA Airport Security in the US you need a form of government issued ID — typically a passport or driver's license.
When the REAL ID law takes affect in 2025, if you opt to use a driver's license as an option — and are over 18 — you will need your state's REAL ID compliant driver's license.
For most individuals this involves a trip to the DMV along with proof of citizenship, proof of social security card, and proof of address. Here are more details on what's required to get your REAL ID.
How Can You Get a REAL ID?
According to our last survey during the pandemic, around 40% of Americans have already upgraded to a REAL ID.
Some of this upgrading happens naturally when your driver's license expires and you go in-person to renew it.
However, it's important to note, upgrading requires a trip to your local DMV and ensuring that you bring the necessary identity documents with you.
📌 Pro-tip: You can make a DMV appointment here.