Real ID Deadline Extended by Another 2 Years — What to Know

The DHS said the decision to push back the start date was in part due to the “lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Department of Homeland Security pushed back the implementation of its REAL ID program on Monday by another two years, giving travelers more time to obtain an enhanced identification card to use at airport security.

Homeland Security sign for REAL ID at entrance to passenger TSA security area, West Palm Beach, Florida

Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Getty Images

The program, which will require travelers to use either an enhanced state-issued driver's license, identification card, or a passport to go through security, will now go into effect on May 7, 2025, according to the DHS. The program was previously set to go into effect next year.

“DHS continues to work closely with U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories to meet REAL ID requirements,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a statement. “This extension will give states needed time to ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card. DHS will also use this time to implement innovations to make the process more efficient and accessible. We will continue to ensure that the American public can travel safely.”

The DHS said the decision to push back the start date was in part due to the “lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic” and pandemic-caused backlogs faced by state driver’s licensing agencies.

The program was first slated to go into effect in the fall of 2020, but has since been extended several times due to the pandemic.

To obtain a REAL ID, travelers must visit their local DMV for an in-person meeting and provide at least their social security number, two forms of proof of address, and proof of their lawful status. To expedite the process, DHS has said it would allow people to submit proof of their identity online first to start the application, but that does not replace the in-person visit.

Currently, 55 states and United States territories are "fully compliant with the REAL ID requirements," according to the DHS.

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