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 John Trump Trump responds to calls to tear down monuments with creation of 'National Garden' of statues Trump: Children are taught in school to 'hate their own country' Trump accuses those tearing down statues of wanting to 'overthrow the American Revolution' 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 WolfPence addresses 16 new citizens at pre-Independence Day naturalization ceremony Arizona reports record number of new coronavirus cases, deaths DHS deploying new task force to protect monuments ahead of July 4 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.