REAL ID deadline extended until 2023

Published 4:09 pm Wednesday, April 28, 2021

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Folks scrambling to find their birth certificate and other documentation needed to get a REAL ID before the October deadline, can take a deep breath; the federal government has granted a 19-month extension.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Wednesday that Kentucky and other states have been advised by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that full enforcement of the REAL ID Act is being extended, to give license issuing agencies time to recover operating capacity that was restricted by COVID-19 health guidelines.

The new enforcement date is May 3, 2023. Before the announced extension, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and its counterparts in other states were preparing for enforcement to begin Oct. 1, 2021, just over five months from now.

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Beginning on the new enforcement date, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification for such things as airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel, visiting a military base, or entering federal facilities that require ID, such as the White House.

“This extension is a prudent move,” said Beshear. “We are rolling out a modern, efficient network of KYTC Driver Licensing Regional Offices to issue all REAL ID-compliant licenses and identification cards. These offices have and continue to operate at limited capacity, to meet social distancing and other ‘Healthy at Work’ requirements.”

KYTC Secretary Jim Gray said Kentucky’s issuance of REAL ID licenses and IDs will continue, as will the transition of all driver licensing services; standard-issue licenses and permits as well as REAL ID-compliant credentials to KYTC Driver Licensing Regional Offices and away from the Office of Circuit Court Clerk in each county.

“The extension can be viewed as a needed grace period,” Gray said. “But our advice to drivers is still the same: If you want a REAL ID, make a plan now.”

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