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Real ID deadline extended 1 year amid coronavirus response

The deadline for those needing to obtain a Real ID has been extended one year as the U.S. deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Originally set for Oct. 1 of this year, the deadline was pushed to Oct. 1, 2021, on Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security.

“Due to circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the national emergency declaration, the Department of Homeland Security, as directed by President Donald J. Trump, is extending the REAL ID enforcement deadline beyond the current October 1, 2020 deadline,” Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said in a news release. “I have determined that states require a twelve-month delay and that the new deadline for REAL ID enforcement is October 1, 2021. DHS will publish a notice of the new deadline in the Federal Register in the coming days.”

Beginning Oct. 1, 2021, Real IDs will be the only ID card accepted to use as identification to board a plane for a domestic flight.

Licenses and ID cards that are not Real ID compliant will be marked “Not for Federal Official Use” and will not be accepted by Transportation Security Administration agents. Real IDs will look similar to noncompliant driver’s licenses and identification cards but feature a gold star in the top right-hand corner.

If a traveler doesn’t have a Real ID after Oct. 1 next year, he or she will have to provide another form of identification such as U.S. passport, Military ID or U.S. issued immigration documents to board a domestic flight.


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