If, like most people, you haven’t made much progress towards your REAL ID application, good news! In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security has extended the application deadline by a full year, now through September 2021. 

REAL ID, for those in the dark, is the government-mandated identification that Americans will soon be required to show in order to board a flight.  

Related: How Airlines Are Handling Coronavirus

The original deadline was set for October 1, 2020, and officials were growing concerned by how few REAL IDs had been issued. Just 35% of Americans currently have IDs compliant with the new regulations, despite a recent publicity blitz on TV and radio to remind the public of the approaching deadline. 

If you’ve renewed your driver’s license recently, you may have already received the updated REAL complaint ID. To verify, check the upper right corner for a star. Some states, such as Michigan, New York, Vermont, Minnesota, and Washington, denote this with a flag rather than a star.

Related: U.S. States Quarantine Domestic Travelers

Shortly before the extension, Federal officials agreed to let states accept Real ID submissions electronically. Applicants in states that do allow online submission must still bring the required documents to the DMV for verification. 

In most cases, acceptable documents will include:

  • U.S. birth certificate
  • Valid U.S. passport or passport card
  • Valid U.S. permanent resident card
  • Social Security card
  • W-2 tax form
  • Employer pay stub featuring social security number

Die-hard procrastinators can put off that trip to the DMV indefinitely by using other forms of compliant identification such as your U.S. passport or passport card, as well as Global Entry cards when returning from international trips. 

You can find more information on REAL ID at DHS.gov.

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