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Real ID deadline delayed one year amid coronavirus pandemic

The requirement for Americans to obtain a Real ID for travel will be delayed one year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Thursday.

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.

President TrumpDonald TrumpHarry Reid reacts to Boehner book excerpt: 'We didn't mince words' Man arrested for allegedly threatening to stab undercover Asian officer in NYC Trump says GOP will take White House in 2024 in prepared speech MORE recommended the delay earlier this week to ease crowding at Department of Motor Vehicle offices.

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"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 WolfChad WolfIntel heads to resume worldwide threats hearing scrapped under Trump Sunday shows preview: Democrats eye passage of infrastructure bill; health experts warn of fourth coronavirus wave Russia suspected of massive State Department email hack: report MORE 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."

Three Democratic chairmen of relevant House committees had sent a letter to the DHS last week asking for the implementation of the Real ID Act to be delayed, citing the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

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 the Real ID standards.