The Department of Homeland Security has announced it will extend the deadline for REAL ID compliance by one year, because of the COVID-19 national emergency.

Key points:                

  • The Oct. 1 deadline for REAL ID compliance will be extended for one year, until Oct. 1, 2021.
  • States will have an additional one year to implement issuance of driver’s licenses that comply with requirements under the REAL ID Act.
  • DHS is expected to publish a notice in the Federal Register with additional details in the coming days.

Background: The REAL ID Act requires states to meet certain standards for issuing driver’s licenses and IDs, and prohibits federal agencies and airlines from accepting IDs issued by states that are not in compliance with the REAL ID standards.

BAL Analysis: Numerous states have temporarily closed DMV offices or restricted services during the current national emergency and are not processing applications for REAL IDs. The deadline extension gives applicants additional time to apply for REAL IDs, and DHS indicated that it intends to work with Congress after the national emergency to implement changes that will expedite the issuance of REAL IDs.

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

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