The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced it will extend the deadline for REAL ID compliance for 19 months because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Points:

  • The deadline of Oct. 1, 2021, for REAL ID compliance is now extended until May 3, 2023.
  • The extension gives states additional time to issue driver’s licenses that comply with requirements under the REAL ID Act.
  • Beginning May 3, 2023, travelers 18 and older must show a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card at airport security for domestic air travel.

Background: The federal REAL ID Act requires  that states issue driver’s licenses and identification documents that comply with heightened security standards. Many states have temporarily closed or limited services at their DMV offices because of COVID-19. The extended deadline will give applicants additional time to apply for REAL IDs and states additional time to process applications. The deadline has been extended a number of times in the past, most recently in March 2020.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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