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Real ID Deadline Pushed Back Due to Coronavirus

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author photo by Eric Brandt March 2020
  • The Real ID requirement deadline has been postponed to October 1, 2021.
  • Eventually, you'll need to verify your identity at the DMV to become Read ID compliant.
  • For now, the government wants you to stay home to limit your exposure to coronavirus.

In a time when it seems like there's nothing but bad news, we have a small glimmer of good news: You may not need to go to the DMV for a while. On Monday, President Donald Trump announced in a White House briefing that the Real ID requirement to board a plane or enter a federal building in the U.S. will be postponed from the original October 1, 2020 deadline due to coronavirus. The idea is to limit people's exposure to the virus by encouraging them to stay home and not make them go to the DMV to get their license updated. It has since been confirmed that the new deadline is October 1, 2021.

The Real ID Act was first enacted in 2005 and has been gradually rolled out in phases. We're currently on phase four, which pertains to air travel. All phases were supposed to be complete by October 1, 2020, but that deadline is now one year later. The Real ID Act establishes new federal standards for state-issued drivers' licenses, changes visa limits and makes some new rules about border security. The point of the Real ID Act is to improve the security of state drivers' licenses and to prevent terrorists from abusing asylum laws.

So, what does the Real ID Act mean for you? It means that, if you haven't already, you'll need to go to the DMV to get your license updated to comply with Real ID standards by October of next year. That means you'll need to bring in your state-issued ID, plus more documentation verifying your identity, such as a passport. You'll get a new ID with a star on it confirming that your driver's license is Real ID compliant. If you're not sure if your current ID is Real ID compliant, check for that star. If it says something like "Not For Federal Identification" or "Federal Limits Apply," that means it is not Real ID compliant.

The original plan was to require everyone in the U.S. to have a Real ID in order to get on a domestic flight or enter a federal building. That plan is still in place, but with this new announcement amid the coronavirus pandemic, the deadline has been postponed.

If you do intent to go to the DMV during the pandemic, here are a few things you should know.

Looking for more info relating to you, your vehicle, and the COVID-19 pandemic?  Check out more of Autotrader's Coronavirus content.

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Real ID Deadline Pushed Back Due to Coronavirus - Autotrader
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