The deadline to apply for a Real ID has been pushed back from its initial date of October 1, 2020. President Donald Trump made the announcement on Monday, March 23, in an effort to reduce crowding at state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Several states have closed their DMV offices entirely.
“At a time when we’re asking Americans to maintain social distancing, we do not want to require people to go with their local DMV,” Trump said, according to The Washington Post.
Originally, from October 1, U.S. travelers would need the new Real ID to board domestic flights, although other documentation—including a passport or Global Entry card, among others—would suffice.
No new deadline has yet been set but Trump said it would be announced “very soon.” According to the Los Angeles Times, California Governor Gavin Newsom, recently asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to extend the deadline by at least one year.
U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement regarding the announcement: "Extending the REAL ID deadline is clearly the wise course of action at this juncture.
"We've asked DHS that the delay of the Real ID enforcement deadline remain in place until the current economic environment improves and DHS can certify that access to air travel will not be negatively impacted after Real ID enforcement begins.
"The already difficult task of bringing the country closer to Real ID compliance is now clearly impossible due to the coronavirus crisis. Clearly, the administration understands that the economic damage of coronavirus is already massive, and as we move toward a recovery phase it would be terrible if the Real ID deadline hits and creates yet another obstacle to people traveling. To get this economy moving again, people need to be able to move again."
In November, the DHS considered making it possible to apply online. This is not yet an option.