According to DHS, the extension is necessary, in part, to address the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ability to obtain a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card. REAL ID progress over the past two years has been significantly hindered by state driver’s licensing agencies having to work through the backlogs created by the pandemic.
Passed by Congress in 2005 following a 9/11 Commission recommendation, the REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. All 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and four of five U.S. territories covered by the REAL ID Act and related regulations are issuing REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards.
With today's announcement, beginning May 7, 2025, every traveler 18 years of age or older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification at airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel.
For more information, please refer the DHS press release announcing the extension.