With the Real ID deadline one year away, the U.S. Travel Association called for a deadline extension, saying “full compliance is not realistically within reach” by next October.  

Citing data showing that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates that just over one third of Americans have Real IDs, U.S. Travel said that the deadline could endanger the recovery of a badly wounded travel industry.

“The last thing the struggling travel sector needs is a looming deadline that will stunt recovery or, worse, trigger a new decline,” U.S. Travel said in a statement. “Congress should therefore direct the [DHS] to certify that air travel will not be negatively affected by Real ID enforcement before setting a new deadline.”

U.S. Travel also said that further measures need to be in place to prevent scenarios in which flyers are turned away at airport security checkpoints, such as TSA Precheck enrollment as an acceptable alternative for Real ID; the development of procedures to process passengers who don’t have a Real ID; and allowing states to use modern identity verification options not available when Real ID was enacted in 2005.

Similar measures are part of a bipartisan bill introduced in February, H.R. 5827, the Trusted Traveler REAL ID Relief Act of 2020, introduced by Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.).

The Real ID Act requires American travelers to present a state-issued Real ID driver’s license or identification card that meets the security standards established by the Real ID Act of 2005. As of Oct. 1, 2021, individuals seeking to enter federal facilities, nuclear power plants or commercial airplanes at federally regulated airports will be required to have a Real ID compliant license or acceptable alternative identification, such as a U.S. passport or passport card, to gain entry. The original deadline was to be this October, but President Trump extended the deadline in March due to the Covid-19 crisis and the need for social distance.

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S Virgin Islands, and Guam are fully compliant and are issuing these cards, the DHS said last week. To date, the states and territories have issued approximately 110 million Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards, representing 40% of all driver’s licenses and identification cards.