Real ID Deadline Postponed Due to Coronavirus

Ryan Norris, a license service representative at the Washington state Dept. of Licensing office in Lacey, Wash., poses for a photo Friday, June 22, 2018 while holding a sample copy of a Washington drivers license.

Ryan Norris, a license service representative at the Washington state Dept. of Licensing office in Lacey, Wash., poses for a photo Friday, June 22, 2018 while holding a sample copy of a Washington drivers license. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

 

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President Trump pushed back the Oct. 1 deadline that would have required Americans to have Real ID compliant driver’s licenses and other identification cards in order to board an airplane.

Americans will have more time to obtain driver’s licenses that comply with stricter standards outlined in the federal government’s Real ID law.

President Trump announced Monday that he is pushing back the Oct. 1 deadline that would have required Americans to have either a Real ID compliant license or passport in order to board a domestic flight.

The decision comes as state governments are preoccupied with the coronavirus outbreak and many motor vehicle departments have closed. Americans also have been warned to avoid crowds to prevent the spread of the virus.

"We are postponing the deadline for compliance with Real ID requirements at a time when we are asking Americans to maintain social distancing," Trump said at Monday’s White House press conference.

No new deadline for compliance has been set, though Trump said a new date would be announced soon.

About two-thirds of the 276 million Americans with driver’s licenses lack a Real ID compliant card, the Department of Homeland Security said in January.

Congress passed the Real ID law in 2005 in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The law tightened national standards for driver’s licenses and identification cards to combat forgery and fraud. It requires applicants to provide documentation of their identity, residency and legal status in the United States.

Before the coronavirus closed down DMVs, offices in several states began to report long lines as residents arrived in throngs to obtain compliant identification cards.

This month, the National Governors’ Association asked DHS to extend the impending deadline by one year to allow residents more time to obtain Real ID compliant driver’s licenses without crowding DMV offices. To address overcrowding and long wait times, DHS had earlier this year announced revisions that would allow states to streamline the process by letting people submit documents online before heading to their local motor vehicles offices to obtain new licenses.

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Andrea Noble is a staff correspondent with Route Fifty.

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