The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced this week that they will be moving back the deadline for U.S. residents to get a REAL ID to 2023, due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic on DMVs (many DMVs are still appointment-only and not allowing walk-ins, and have fewer appointments due to capacity restrictions and social distancing). Here's what you need to know about the news.
✈ Survey Says: According to our last survey (before the pandemic) only 30% of Americans have upgraded their ID or driver's license to be REAL ID compliant. See the latest poll at the bottom of this article.
What’s the New REAL ID Deadline?
The Department of Homeland Security has moved the REAL ID deadline to May 3, 2023. That’s an extension of 19 months; the deadline had been set for October 1, 2021. The new deadline will give states more time to reopen their DMVs and provide tools to streamline the REAL ID application process. Until then, passengers can fly on U.S. flights with a regular license, but after the deadline you'll need a REAL ID or passport to fly domestically.
Since many states are still operating their drivers’ licensing facilities and DMVs at limited capacity or offering less appointments due to the pandemic, it’s been difficult for people to get REAL ID appointments, which is why the deadline has been extended.
“Protecting the health, safety, and security of our communities is our top priority,” said DHS Secretary Mayorkas. “As our country continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, extending the REAL ID full enforcement deadline will give states needed time to reopen their driver’s licensing operations and ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card," he added.
Who Needs a REAL ID?
REAL IDs are primarily needed for domestic travel. REAL IDS, which can be distinguished from regular licenses because of the star they have in their right hand corner, are harder to counterfeit than regular licenses and have more security features.
After the deadline, passengers over age 18 will not be able to use regular licenses to board a domestic flight in the U.S. Passengers will be able to use REAL ID compliant licenses or state IDs, or their passport. If you travel regularly, a REAL ID will be helpful for you.
How Can You Get A REAL ID?
You will need an appointment (or be prepared to wait if your state is accepting walk-ins) at your local DMV or drivers’ licensing office to get a real ID. You will need to either bring documents or upload them online prior to your appointment that prove your identity, your date of birth, your proof of residency and your lawful status in the U.S. Each state has a slightly different process for getting a REAL ID, so you should check your individual state’s requirements prior to booking your appointment. We have a general guide to the REAL ID available which will give you a sense of the documents you will need.
We can help you book an appointment with the DMV for free with Skip Plus, and we will send you all the information you need ahead of time and remind you about your appointment. You can also learn more about the REAL ID requirements and how to get one in your state on the DHS REAL ID website.
You can follow along with the Skip Blog for more information on government services and travel requirements.
How Many People Have Already Upgraded to the REAL ID?
We'll be publishing more data soon, but you can chime in on our survey below and then see the results!
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More REAL ID Related Info
📌 Get a DMV appointment to get your REAL ID out of the way
📌 See testing and vaccine requirements for every single country
📌 Check out tips on traveling during the pandemic from a travel agent