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Real ID, California DMV. (Photo: dmv.ca.gov)

REAL ID Deadline Extended To 2025 Due TO COVID-19 Concerns

Deadline moved 3rd time in three years

By Evan Symon, December 5, 2022 5:00 pm

The deadline for Californians and other Americans to get a REAL ID identification card was moved again on Monday by the Department of Homeland Security, with the new date changing for the third time in three years.

REAL IDs, which are driver’s licenses or other state identification cards built in with added security features, were first thought up in the mid 2000’s as a way to help stop terrorism in the days following 9/11. Passed as the REAL ID Act in 2005, both the federal government and state governments worked to see how they could put these new cards into circulation, as they required several pieces of identification in order to get one, which was found to be a major hurdle.

In the late 2010’s, a deadline date, April 27, 2020, was finally put down. Past that date, a regular drivers license or other form of ID would no longer be acceptable to fly in the US, with people needing either a REAL ID, or another high security form of identification, such as a passport, to fly domestically. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic flaring up right before the deadline in March 2020, the deadline date was moved to October 2021. The continuation of the pandemic moved the date again to May 3, 2023, but with COVID-19 still being an issue for some, the date was moved once again on Monday, with the new deadline date now being May 7, 2025, only a few weeks before the busy summer vacation season.

“DHS continues to work closely with U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories to meet REAL ID requirements,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas in a statement on Monday. “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.”

In California, the new date will mean no change to the process, which has been more difficult for Californians due to not all citizens being able to easily obtain all the needed documents, as well as the REAL ID process requiring an in-person visit, which can add to the DMV’s notoriously long waiting time as the deadline approaches.

“A lot of Californians may not have spent enough time in state to get all the documents they need for a REAL ID,” explained Susan Ford, a researcher who focuses on state ID laws, to the Globe on Monday. “Any state with a high immigrant or illegal immigrant population has been feeling that, especially with REAL IDs needing either a social security card or tax return as one of the requirements. And yes, when the deadline comes closer, more people re goin to panic and apply at the last minute. We were beginning to see that nationwide in 2020 before the pandemic moved the deadline, so we’ll see it again. It can be easily rectified by just using a passport or other form of acceptable non-REAL ID, but then again not everyone has that.

“Barring another crisis, I think this is the last deadline delay.”

The current deadline for getting a REAL ID is May 7, 2025.

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