Real ID Deadline Pushed Back to October 2021

The United States government announced Thursday it has officially extended the deadline to obtain a REAL ID card to October 1, 2021.

The Department of Homeland Security issued the updated deadline at the direction of President Donald Trump. The previous enforcement deadline for the identification cards was October 1, 2020, but the ongoing coronavirus outbreak has forced the change.

President Trump initially announced the change earlier this week, but provided no date at the time. Even before the viral outbreak, lawmakers were calling for a delay in the deadline due to concerns that not enough travelers had signed up.

Health officials have recommended social distancing and states have ordered residents to stay home, creating a clear issue for travelers who had yet to obtain their REAL IDs from the approved distribution locations, such as DMVs.

The new deadline will also help provide government officials the time needed to implement changes to how the REAL IDs are issued to travelers to ensure more Americans have coverage next year.

Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf released a statement:

“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. I have determined that states require a twelve-month delay and that the new deadline for REAL ID enforcement is October 1, 2021. DHS will publish a notice of the new deadline in the Federal Register in the coming days.

“The federal, state and local response to the spread of the Coronavirus here in the United States necessitates a delay in this deadline. Our state and local partners are working tirelessly with the Administration to flatten the curve and, therefore, we want to remove any impediments to response and recovery efforts. States across the country are temporarily closing or restricting access to DMVs. This action will preclude millions of people from applying for and receiving their REAL ID. Extending the deadline will also allow the Department to work with Congress to implement needed changes to expedite the issuance of REAL IDs once the current health crisis concludes.

“Protecting both the health and national security of the American people continues to be the top priority for the President of the United States and the Department of Homeland Security.”

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