REAL ID deadline pushed back again — this time to 2025

The deadline to change your driver’s license to a REAL ID is getting pushed back yet again.

You now have until May 7, 2025 to obtain the new ID. The previous deadline, which has been delayed before, was May 3, 2023.



The Department of Homeland Security said the delay would give states more time to ensure their residents have the new IDs. After the deadline, federal agencies — such as the Transportation Security Administration — will only accept REAL IDs.

“The extension is necessary, in part, to address the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ability to obtain a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card,” DHS said in a news release.

“REAL ID progress over the past two years has been significantly hindered by state driver’s licensing agencies having to work through the backlogs created by the pandemic. Many of these agencies took various steps in response to the pandemic including automatically extending the expiration dates of driver’s licenses and identification cards and shifting operations to appointment only.”

Nationally, only about 49% of people have obtained the new IDs.

Most of the D.C. area is ahead of the curve when it comes to getting REAL IDs. In D.C., more than 92% of residents are REAL ID-compliant, according to stats from earlier this month.

In Maryland, about 88% of residents have the new ID cards. Virginia lags behind, with only about 43% of residents having obtained the new IDs.

The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licensees and ID cards, such as anti-counterfeiting technology and more stringent record checks to ensure people are who they say they are.

This is the third time the deadline has been pushed back; it was originally Oct. 1, 2020.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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