The Transportation Security Administration announced Monday that the deadline for states to enforce REAL ID requirements for travelers has been postponed until May 7, 2025. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 5 (UPI) -- The Department of Homeland Security on Monday has again extended the deadline for the enforcement of REAL ID requirements for travelers, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
The TSA said in a news release that the deadline for the enforcement of the enhanced identification measures will be postponed by a full 24 months, from May 3, 2023 to May 7, 2025.
Officials said that the delay was necessary to give states more time to ensure that driver's licenses and identification cards meet the standards established by the REAL ID Act after the COVID-19 pandemic limited the ability of residents to obtain REAL IDs.
The additional two years will allow states to work through the backlogs created by the pandemic, officials said.
"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 the 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 REAL ID requirements were created after the law was passed by the U.S. Congress in 2005, following the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.
The initial deadline requiring the enforcement of REAL IDs was set for Oct. 1, 2021, but was postponed in April of that year to May 3, 2023, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Protecting the health, safety, and security of our communities is our top priority," Mayorkas said at the time.
"As our country continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, extending the REAL ID full enforcement deadline will give states needed time to reopen their driver's licensing operations and ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card."
When the policy eventually does take effect, U.S. air travelers 18 years of age and older will be required to provide a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or other state photo identity card -- denoted by a star in the upper right corner -- at airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel.
Other forms of approved identification, such as passports, will also be accepted.