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Why the REAL ID deadline was extended again

The Department of Homeland Security said COVID is to blame for another missed target.

ST. LOUIS — If you are one of the millions of people across the country that has yet to get a REAL ID, you're in luck. Once again the Department of Homeland Security has pushed the start date back, this time by two years.

The first deadline was in 2008, states pushed back on REAL ID legislation delaying the start. October 2020 was the next goal, but for obvious reasons regulators picked a new date. 2021 came and went and the deadline was pushed to 2023, both times the Department of Homeland Security cited COVID hardship as the cause. Now 2023 is a bust, the new goal date is May 2025. 

"There's backlogs in the state DMV offices and as a result we want to make sure they are able to clear those backlogs, but also be able to issue more REAL ID compliant driver's licenses," explains Transportation Security Administration Spokesperson Lorie Dankers.

Dankers says COVID is the reason there a backlogs, "Many motor vehicle administration offices were closed for the pandemic people couldn't either renew online or in person and of course the idea of getting a REAL ID became more complicated by that."

The new date to have that REAL ID in your hands at the TSA checkpoint is May 2025. Dankers says that's not an excuse to push back going to the license office, "What travelers need to know is that doesn't mean you can't go today, next month to get your Real ID to make sure you are ready for when this law is enforced."

You might already have a REAL ID and not know it. In both Missouri and Illinois, your card will have a gold star in the corner. 

Click here to review REAL ID requirements in Missouri.

Click here to review REAL ID requirements in Illinois.

Dankers says now is the time to make it happen, before you end up stuck at the airport, "We don't want to see you on May 7, 2025 at the checkpoint with a non-ID-compliant driver's license. The TSA officer will have no choice but to turn you away because you don't have an acceptable for of identification."

Even if you don't plan to travel, Dankers says don't bet on it, "Let me tell you, there is a segment of the population that says 'oh I don't travel, I don't fly,' you never know, you can never predict where things may take you."

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