WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) – The deadline to obtain a REAL ID, federally mandated identification that will be needed for passengers to board aircraft, will be extended until October 2021— a year past the current deadline, according to Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.
“The federal state and local response to the spread of #coronavirus here in the US necessitates a delay in this deadline,” Wolf announced on Twitter Thursday.
Before the coronavirus pandemic swept across the US, states were preparing to issue residents “REAL ID-compliant” driver’s licenses or identification by the October 1 deadline.
As of last month, only about 35% of US IDs complied with the REAL ID Act, a post-9/11 law that establishes security standards for licenses. Once in effect, travelers flying commercially in the US will need to have a REAL ID, which is marked by a star on the top of the card.
Even before the outbreak, it was unlikely that all states would meet the deadline. Last month, Wolf told lawmakers that the prospect of all states being able to issue their constituents a REAL ID by October 2020 was “probably fairly small.”
The Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for the identification program, is evaluating options regarding the new deadline, a department official told CNN.