For the third time, the federal government has pushed back the Real ID deadline for air travelers. Fliers now have until May 7, 2025, to get a driver’s license marked with a star, two years later than the previous deadline. The Department of Homeland Security announced the change Monday.
“DHS continues to work closely with U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories to meet REAL ID requirements,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a press release.
“This extension will give states needed time to ensure their residents can obtain a Real ID-compliant license or identification card. DHS will also use this time to implement innovations to make the process more efficient and accessible. We will continue to ensure that the American public can travel safely.”
Real ID is a more secure version of the traditional driver’s license and a new federal requirement to help prevent fraudulent identification.
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The original deadline was in October 2020, but it was pushed back to October 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was further delayed until May 2023 before Monday’s announcement. Travelers will now have more than 800 additional days to get to the Motor Vehicle Commission.
“The extension of the national Real ID deadline until May 2025 will give the MVC more time to issue Real IDs for customers who need or want them,” a New Jersey MVC spokesperson said. “We eagerly await word from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on any potential changes to the Real ID process to make it more efficient and accessible.”
Real IDs are not mandatory, but once the deadline passes, a regular driver’s license will no longer get you onto a domestic flight. A passport can still be used as a form of identification without Real ID.
Appointments are required at New Jersey MVC locations to obtain a Real ID due to high demand. They also cost $35, more than the $24 for a regular driver’s license. People will need to provide six points of identification to get a Real ID.