The deadline for Real ID drivers licenses and ID cards has been extended by 12 months as pandemic-related social distancing and lockdowns disrupt issuance.
“Due to circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the national emergency declaration, the Department of Homeland Security, as directed by President Donald J. Trump, is extending the REAL ID enforcement deadline beyond the current October 1, 2020 deadline,” said Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf in a news release Thursday.
Without the extension, people would have been required to present Real ID cards to board U.S. flights or enter federal buildings starting on Oct. 1, 2020.
“The federal, state and local response to the spread of the Coronavirus here in the United States necessitates a delay in this deadline,” Wolf said.
The DHS statement follows Mondays remarks by President Donald Trump, who at a White House briefing said the administration would be postponing the deadline for compliance with Real ID requirements, noting it was coming “at a time when were asking Americans to maintain social distancing.”
The president said that the new deadline would be announced “very soon.”
Under the law, Americans are required to visit their states Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and obtain a Real ID-compliant card, or alternative such as a U.S. passport, if they want to fly domestically or access federal facilities like nuclear plants.
The nations governors have urged the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to extend the Real ID deadline for some time.
Last week, three Democratic chairmen of relevant House committees sent a letter to the DHS requesting Real ID Act implementation be postponed.
“While we recognize the administrations commitment to ensuring the nations full compliance with the REAL ID Act, the challenges presented by the coronavirus outbreak and its impacts on the aviation industry must lead DHS to delay the October 1 implementation deadline,” they wrote.
“For implementation to go smoothly, DHS would need tens of millions of Americans to get new identifications over the next several months. Creating lines at Departments of Motor Vehicles would be foolish during a pandemic,” they added.
Obtaining a Real ID requires stricter security checks to be issued and an in-person visit to the DMV, a growing problem as the epidemic spreads.
New York, the nations COVID-19 hot-zone, shuttered all DMVs statewide on March 22.
“While offices are closed, expiration dates for driver licenses, non-driver IDs, and registrations will be extended. And all road tests will be suspended until further notice. #coronavirus,” the agency said in a tweet.
At @NYGovCuomos direction, all DMV offices statewide are closed until further notice. While offices are closed, expiration dates for driver licenses, non-driver IDs, and registrations will be extended. And all road tests will be suspended until further notice. #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/o98ieX6uQQ
— NYS DMV (@nysdmv) March 21, 2020