Pesky Real ID Driver's License Deadline Suspended Indefinitely Thanks To COVID-19

Illustration for article titled Pesky Real ID Driver's License Deadline Suspended Indefinitely Thanks To COVID-19
Illustration: Jason Torchinsky

If there is one sort-of good thing to come out of the stupid COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that the October deadline for getting a Real ID driver’s license in order to fly commercially in the United States has been pushed back indefinitely. Thank God.


During the president’s coronavirus briefing from earlier this week, it was announced the Transportation Security Administration’s original Oct. 1, 2020, deadline for acquiring a Real ID driver’s license has been suspended, reports Autoblog. Currently, there is no new deadline. So, there’s something we can all mark off from our to-do lists.

“We are postponing the deadline for compliance with Real ID requirement at a time when we are asking Americans to maintain social distancing,” said the president.

Since getting a Real ID necessitates a visit to a local Department of Motor Vehicles location, most cannot do that because of COVID-19 closures. Can you imagine trying to abide by social distancing while standing in line at the DMV?

Before the announcement, Americans were required to have new, Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses in order to board domestic flights starting on Oct. 1 of this year. Otherwise, they’d have to use some other accepted form of identification, such as a U.S. passport.

Note that a Real ID isn’t necessary for things like being licensed to drive, voting, applying for or getting federal benefits, or participating in police proceedings or investigations, according to New York’s DMV website.

The Real ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005, but states have been struggling to comply with it, reports The Washington Post. The Department of Homeland Security estimates only about a third of Americans have a Real ID-compliant driver’s license and that most states are still in the early stages of issuing them.


A deadline will be announced, “very soon,” said the president.

We’ll see if that actually happens, as I think the government has more pressing issues at hand right now than requiring everyone to update their driver’s licenses.

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.



I don’t understand why people have been waiting so long to get a Real ID. If you have the proper documentation, it only takes about 15 minutes. Then, they mail the Real ID to you.