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U.S. again delays deadline for Real IDs, until May 2025

Homeland Security sign for REAL ID at entrance to passenger TSA security area, West Palm Beach, Florida.

Lindsey Nicholson | UCG | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

U.S. officials are delaying for two more years the enforcement of a rule requiring people to get new identification cards to board domestic flights, access federal facilities or enter nuclear plants.

The Department of Homeland Security said Monday the Real ID Act will not be enforced until May 2025, marking the latest postponement for the rule. The rule had most recently been slated to go into effect in May 2023.

The agency cited “the lingering impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic,” as partially responsible for the continued delay. It noted that the pandemic made it more difficult for people to obtain licenses or identification cards that are Real ID-compliant.

The Real ID Act, passed in 2005 in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, enhanced the security standards necessary for driver’s licenses and other identification cards to be accepted for certain activities, such as boarding planes. Real IDs can be identified by a star in the right-hand corner of a driver’s license or identification card.

“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,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas in a press release.

Enforcement of the Real ID rule has been repeatedly delayed since the original 2008 deadline. It was slated to go into effect in October 2020, but then the deadline was pushed back to October 2021 after states pressured the federal government for an extension due to Covid pandemic obstacles. That deadline never kicked in to gear either, and officials again pushed back enforcement until May 2023.

On Monday, DHS updated its countdown to the new date on its website.

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