Article written by Matt Turner, Travel Agent Central
The requirement for REAL IDs will not go into effect for another two years. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), enforcement of the REAL ID will not begin until May 7, 2025—two full years after the previously set date of May 3, 2023. In the interim, this means people traveling domestically within the United States can continue to use their existing form of identification.
“Under the new regulations published to execute this change, states will now have additional time to ensure their residents have driver’s licenses and identification cards that meet the security standards established by the REAL ID Act,” the DHS said in a statement. “As required by the law, following the enforcement deadline, federal agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), will be prohibited from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards that do not meet these federal standards.”
This means, every traveler 18 years of age or older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification at airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel.
The extension was “necessary,” in part due to delays in people’s ability to obtain the ID as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the new regulations, beginning May 7, 2025.
“Extending the REAL ID deadline is the right decision, and U.S. Travel appreciates DHS leadership for recognizing that with more than 100 million Americans still lacking a REAL ID, now is not the time to create significant travel disruptions. This delay helps give travelers the time necessary to get the credential needed to fly domestically,” said U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes in a statement.
“It remains critical that DHS identify ways to modernize identification standards to make the entire travel process more efficient. We will continue working with our partners in the travel industry and DHS to advance these solutions and get the traveling public fully prepared for the implementation of the REAL ID Act in 2025,” she added.
The Real ID Act was originally passed by Congress in 2005 following the attacks on September 11, 2001. It was supposed to go into effect in 2008 before being pushed back to 2014 for certain federal agencies. All states have become compliant in the meantime but enforcement continued to be pushed back, first to 2021, then 2023 date and, now, 2025.
The Washington Post reports that just under half of Americans who have a license or state identification card have a Real ID-compliant document (identifiable by a star in the upper righthand corner).