Although some DMV offices are beginning to open slowly, there are still many offices around the country that are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. That has meant that it's been difficult for many Americans to get business done like their license renewals, drivers' test, and of course getting their REAL IDs. But the good news is that at the end of March, the Department of Homeland Security extended the deadline for getting a REAL ID for a full year.
New Deadline in October 2021
The new deadline for getting a REAL ID is October 1, 2021. Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department, said the move will be necessary to make sure that all levels of government--local, state and federal--are focused on stopping the spread of the coronavirus. The extended deadline is also designed to give the government more time to streamline the Real ID process and make it faster and more efficient to get one.
Who Needs A REAL ID
Even after the deadline, not everyone will need a Real ID. But for many people, it will cause hassle not to have one. After the deadline, the REAL ID will be necessary for boarding domestic flights and entering secure federal facilities. Without one, you will need another form of identification that is federally compliant, like a passport. Most Americans are used to using their licenses to fly domestically. If that's you and you'd rather not carry your passport with you, you'll need a REAL ID. You can learn a bit more about the differences between Real IDs and standard licenses here.
The Extended Deadline May Still Not Be Enough
Unfortunately, even with the extended deadline, it's possible many people will be barred from flying and entering facilities because they weren't able to get their new IDs in time. The U.S. Travel Association estimated that as many as 67,000 people could be barred from flying on the first day of REAL ID implementation, and as many as half a million in the first week. The group's president, Roger Dow, said in a statement that “The already difficult task of bringing the country closer to REAL ID compliance is now clearly impossible due to the coronavirus crisis."
In order to make REAL ID applications easier during the crisis, the DHS is now accepting the necessary documents online. Even though the deadline has been extended, it's still important to get a REAL ID as soon as you can if you will require one to fly domestically.
If you want to apply for your REAL ID (either online or, if your state is opening them, at the DMV) we can help with our premium membership program. We make sure you have everything you need to make the process as smooth as possible--so that you can spend less time dealing with government bureaucracy and more time enjoying your life. Come skip the red tape with us!