CHOKEPOINTS

Real ID pushed back again as states struggle to comply

Dec 6, 2022, 7:28 AM | Updated: 9:12 am
real id...
Homeland Security sign for REAL ID at entrance to passenger TSA security area, West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by: Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
(Photo by: Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

You don’t have to worry about getting an enhanced driver’s license or ID card to fly any time soon. The Real ID Act has been pushed back another two years.

The Real ID Act was passed in 2005 to make flying safer and was passed in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. It was supposed to go into effect in 2008, but states were given an opportunity to extend that deadline until 2009…then 2011…then the deadline was then pushed back to 2013. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) kept pushing the date as states continued to struggle to comply with the rules. Then came the pandemic and another extension to May of 2023.

REAL ID delayed in WA state, across the nation

And finally, yesterday, DHS pushed it back to May 2025.

“This latest extension was deemed necessary by DHS, in part, to address the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Washington Department of Licensing’s (DOL) Rob Wieman said.

Primarily because licensing offices had to close during the pandemic, and people didn’t have the ability to get updated IDs.

“This just provides a little bit more time for both residents and agencies to catch up,” Wieman said.

Washington’s regular driver’s licenses and ID cards are not valid as federal IDs under the Real ID Act because our state does not require proof of legal residency to get one. As a sanctuary state, Washington does not require the information the federal government believes is necessary as proof of identification.

Nationwide, it’s estimated that only 43% of IDs are compliant right now.

That’s where Washington’s enhanced driver’s license comes in. You need to go into a DOL office to get one, and you need a lot more documentation to get one. You now have another two years to get that done. You will need one to fly and access some government buildings.

You don’t need to get one if you have other beefed-up forms of ID like a passport or military ID.

Wieman said you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to get one. Two years sounds like a long time, but you don’t want to find yourself scrambling to get one.

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Real ID pushed back again as states struggle to comply