Getting a Real ID is a big step toward preventing identity fraud, which is a serious concern for travelers. Real ID is more secure than a traditional driver’s license and includes proof of identity, date of birth and U.S. citizenship or lawful status, full social security number, residency, and written signature.
The Real ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005 on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, requires state driver’s licenses and identification cards to meet minimum security standards. These include incorporating anti-counterfeiting technology and using documentary evidence and record checks to ensure people are who they claim to be. As a result, all 50 states and the District of Columbia are now issuing Real ID-compliant drivers’ licenses and identification cards. American Samoa is under review for compliance.
When is the Real ID Deadline Delay?
Originally the deadline for Real ID was October 2020, but it was then extended to October 2021, and as a final delay, it has been extended to May 7, 2025, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest extension was announced Monday, and it cites the continued impacts of the virus as the reason for the delay.
According to DHS officials, affected states and motor vehicle departments need more time to comb through applications created by the virus. During the height of the pandemic, many state motor vehicle commission offices closed for months while staffers worked to get through the backlogs.
As a result, residents of affected states are having trouble getting their state-issued identification documents changed to comply with the new standards. It’s estimated that a total of 24 million people will have to change their identification. Those who want to change their documents can visit a licensed agent or a Motor Vehicle Commission office.
How to Get A Real ID?
The law will eventually require all citizens to have a Real ID to access certain federal buildings, enter nuclear facilities, and board commercial flights. In order to obtain a Real ID, you will need proof of identity, your full social security number, and a written signature. You can apply for your Real ID by visiting any of the Secretary of State’s 30 facilities that offer REAL ID services, including walk-in centers. These are located throughout New York State.
To get the best REAL ID experience, you’ll want to plan ahead and make an appointment to obtain your shiny new credential. For most states, that means a trip to the local driver’s license office. Use the Find Office Locations search to locate your nearest office. If you can’t make the appointment, you can also check out the DMV online calendar of events to see when your local DLCC will be open for business and how to schedule an in-person visit. Be sure to bring your application confirmation code with you.
Getting your REAL ID as soon as possible is a good idea. Then, you can use it for all your travel needs and avoid any delays. Since the Real ID law was first introduced, there have been several delays in the implementation of this I.D. program. The latest delay was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has significantly impacted the ability of states to issue I.D.s.
Can I fly in the U.S. Without a Real ID?
You can still fly in the U.S. with a regular driver’s license or state photo I.D., but it will be difficult to get through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening process at airports. If you don’t have a Real ID-compliant license, or if you don’t have another TSA-approved form of identification like a passport, you will be denied access to the airport.
For more information on how to get a Real ID, check out the Department of Homeland Security’s FAQ page or download their Real ID brochure in PDF format. Alternatively, you can also contact your local DMV to find out how to apply for a Real ID.