April 27, 2020

REAL ID Deadline Pushed to October 1, 2021

2 min

The REAL ID Act sets minimum security requirements for the issuance and production of driver's licenses and identification cards issued by the states, territories, and the District of Columbia in order for U.S. federal agencies to accept these documents for official purposes.1 Official purposes include accessing federal facilities or using the identification at U.S. airports. Under previous regulations, card-based enforcement—the date by which individuals must obtain a REAL ID compliant license or identification card—was scheduled to begin on October 1, 2020.2 After this date, federal agencies were prohibited from accepting for official purposes a license or identification card issued by a state unless the license or card itself was issued in accordance with the REAL ID standards or by a REAL ID compliant jurisdiction. Recognizing the impact and disruptions that COVID-19 has and will have on the ability of an individual to obtain a REAL ID compliant license or identification card before October 1, 2020, the Secretary of Homeland Security is extending the date by which individuals must obtain a REAL ID license or identification card to October 1, 2021.3

  1. Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005, Public Law 109-12, Div. B. title II, sections 201 to 207, May 11, 2005, as amended (codified at 49 U.S.C. § 30301 note).
  2. 6 C.F.R. § 37.5(b).
  3. Minimum Standards for Driver's Licenses and Identification Cards Acceptable by Federal Agencies for Official Purposes, 85 Fed. Reg. 23205 (April 27, 2020).