REAL ID Deadline Delayed: How It Affects CA, State DMVs

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Monday that the federal REAL ID deadline for U.S. flights has been extended again, this time by another two years to May 2025.

The delayed enforcement will provide some reprieve for the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which has has repeatedly prepared for a large influx of REAL ID applications in recent years before the deadline.

The REAL ID Act was originally supposed to take effect in 2008, but has been delayed numerous times. The latest delay is again in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, federal officials said in a statement.

“REAL ID’s progress over the past two years has been significantly hampered by state driver’s license agencies that have had to work through pandemic backlogs,” DHS officials wrote in a press release.

Until Monday’s announcement, which set the new date as May 7, 2025. the deadline was set for May 3, 2023, which in turn was pushed back from the previous deadline of October 1, 2021..

After the deadline, air passengers will need either a VALID ID or a valid US passport for domestic flights.

The California DMV websitewhich has been revised several times in recent years to make more services available online, continues to encourage Californians to apply for REAL ID sooner rather than later.

“Wait times will increase closer to the deadline, so get your REAL ID now,” the post said.

To obtain a REAL ID, California residents can complete their applications online, but must bring the completed documents and application verification code to a DMV office. More information is available at dmv.ca.gov.

This story was originally published December 5, 2022 at 10:11 am.

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news team, covering public safety and other local stories. A native of Sacramento and lifelong resident of the capital, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.

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