The new deadline is now Oct. 1, 2021.

By Alison Fox
Updated March 30, 2020

The deadline for Real ID driver’s licenses and ID cards has been extended a year as the spread of COVID-19 forces millions of Americans to social distance and stay home.

“We're postponing the deadline for compliance with Real ID requirements..." President Donald Trump said at a White House news briefing on Monday, especially "at a time when we’re asking Americans to maintain social distancing..."

The new deadline is now Oct. 1, 2021.

“The federal, state and local response to the spread of the Coronavirus here in the United States necessitates a delay in this deadline," acting Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said in a statement. "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."

Not only are DMVs closed due to quarantine restrictions around the country, but Wolf also acknowledged that the deadline extension 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."

Previously, the deadline for all states to be compliant with Real ID, which requires stricter security checks to be issued and an in-person visit to the DMV, was Oct. 1, 2020.

The extension comes as confirmed coronavirus cases have topped more than 46,500 in the U.S. as of Tuesday morning, including 592 deaths, according to the latest statistics from Johns Hopkins University, who is tracking the virus in real-time.

When the Real ID’s do finally go into effect, travelers will either need their passports or the Real ID identifier to board a domestic flight. Real ID-compliant licenses feature a star in the upper portion of the ID.

John Moore/Getty Images

But in order to receive one of these enhanced licenses, people need to visit their local DMV for an in-person meeting. Last month, the Department of Homeland Security said people can submit proof of their identity online to expedite the process, but it does not replace that in-person visit.

Currently, 47 out of 50 states are equipped to issue identification that is Real ID-compliant while New Jersey is under review, and Oklahoma and Oregon have been granted an extension, according to DHS.

Postponing the Real ID deadline isn’t the only concession DHS has made for travelers as the virus continues to sweep through the country. Last week, the Transportation Security Administration said it would allow people to use an expired driver’s license to pass through security if that traveler is not able to renew it right now.

Additionally, the TSA is allowing people to bring hand sanitizer in quantities of up to 12-ounce bottles in their carry-on luggage, increasing the liquid requirements for that item.

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