REAL ID deadline pushed back to October 2021

The REAL ID deadline of Oct. 1, 2020, has been pushed back to next year, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 

Americans will now have until Oct. 1, 2021, to get REAL ID Act compliant identification needed to board commercial flights, enter federal buildings or gain access to American nuclear plants.

In a statement, Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said the move is "due to circumstances from the COVID-19 pandemic and the national emergency declaration."

"The federal, state and local response to the spread of the Coronavirus here in the United States necessitates a delay in this deadline," Acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement Thursday. "Our state and local partners are working tirelessly with the Administration to flatten the curve and, therefore, we want to remove any impediments to response and recovery efforts."

President Donald Trump recommended the delay earlier this week to ease crowding at the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) offices.

Even without delays driven by the coronavirus, rollout of the new REAL IDs has been slow; the last time the DHS gave an update on compliance, only 95 million out of 276 million total driver and ID cards met REAL ID standards.

Department of Public Safety: 62,000 Minnesotans applied for REAL ID in January