U.S. delays Real ID compliance deadline to reduce coronavirus risks
U.S. President Donald Trump has postponed the deadline for state credentials to comply with Real ID specifications to next year, as he is trying to encourage social distancing due to the spike in coronavirus cases in the country, Bloomberg reports. States had been required to produce driver’s licenses embedded with biometric data to enable recognition by federal agencies for domestic air travel by October 1, 2020.
The decision was made after a number of lawmakers reported difficulties caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
“At a time when we’re asking Americans to maintain social distancing, we do not want to require people to go with their local DMV,” Trump said at a White House briefing. “We will be announcing the new deadline very soon.”
For now, the deadline has been delayed from this year to October 1, 2021. DMVs across the country have been closed or have restricted access.
Real ID-compliance will be mandatory for commercial flights and to enter a federal building in the country to boost security standards.
According to KTLA5, only 35 percent of U.S. IDs were compliant with the Real ID Act in February. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf had stated before the coronavirus outbreak that chances for all states to make the deadline were “probably fairly small.”
“Extending the deadline will also allow the Department to work with Congress to implement needed changes to expedite the issuance of REAL IDs once the current health crisis concludes,” Wolf said in a statement Thursday.