NEW YORK (PIX11) — The federal Department of Homeland Security’s deadline for REAL ID enforcement has been extended by two years to May 2025, the agency announced Monday.

The delay gives states extra time to ensure their residents obtain driver’s licenses and other identification cards that are compliant with the federal REAL ID Act. Passed in 2005 on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, the REAL ID Act sets minimum security standards for state-issued identification cards, including anti-counterfeiting technology. The legislation also establishes extra steps to prove that identification applicants are who they claim to be.

It was previously announced that all travelers 18 and over would need REAL ID-compliant identification, enhanced driver’s license, or other identification acceptable to the Transportation Security Administration to board domestic flights starting on May 3, 2023. That date has now been pushed back to May 7, 2025.

“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,” said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a statement. “We will continue to ensure that the American public can travel safely.” 

The delay was attributed, in part, to significant backlogs at state licensing agencies created by the COVID-19 pandemic.