Real ID driver's license deadline of Oct. 1 has been suspended

Move is designed to reduce in-person DMV visits during coronavirus outbreak

There was one piece of good news in President Trump's coronavirus briefing two days ago: The Transportation Security Administration's Oct. 1 deadline for obtaining a Real ID compliant driver's license in order to board a commercial flight has been suspended. No new deadline has been given.

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

Obtaining a Real ID compliant driver's license in most cases requires an in-person visit to the DMV, and this change should reduce the number of people who need to do so. Furthermore, several states have temporarily closed their DMV offices in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, including New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and several others.

A Real ID compliant driver's license will have a star on it. Certain states (New York, Minnesota, Michigan, and Vermont) issue Real ID licenses but also special enhanced driver's licenses, which are compliant. Washington state issues enhanced driver's licenses that are compliant.

Travelers whose license is non-compliant would need an alternate form of ID, such as a passport or a DHS trusted traveler card, in order to board a plane. It's estimated that nearly one-third of Americans do not have either a compliant driver's license or an alternate ID.

A bill to extend the deadline by one year was introduced into the U.S. Senate on March 20. The bi-partisan legislation is sponsored by Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).

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