The Real ID Act was passed by the U.S. Congress in 2005 to enhance the security standards required for driver’s licenses and other identification cards. The Department of Homeland Security’s initial implementation date was 2008, but that has been reset several times. The latest postponement was announced on December 5, moving the deadline for having a compliant ID by two years, from May 3, 2023, to May 7, 2025.
The challenges of mandating stricter identification protocols for activities such as boarding planes appears to be more complex than expected. In 2021, the U.S. Travel Association estimated that 83 million Americans did not have Real-ID compliant identification. The latest extension, said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas, “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.”
Once the policy goes into effect, the Transportation Security Administration will be prohibited from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards that do not meet the Real-ID standards for access through airport security. Real IDs can be identified by a star in the right-hand corner of a driver’s license or identification card.