Are You Ready for the REAL ID Deadline?

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Back in 2017, I blogged about how the federal government’s REAL ID deadline would be here before we knew it…in October 2020.

In February of 2020, I drafted another blog post to remind folks about getting their REAL ID in October. Here’s that rough draft:

“If you fly using any domestic airport or if you plan to enter any type of federal building or military base, you’ll want to make sure that your identification card is REAL ID compliant by the REAL ID deadline of October 1, 2020.

The Texas Department of Public Safety delivered the following notice to me last year:

You are receiving this notice because your Texas driver license or identification card will expire in two years. You are welcome to renew anytime between now and your expiration date.

Please be advised that beginning October 1, 2020, federal agencies will only accept Texas driver licenses and identification cards for official federal purposes – including air travel and entering federal facilities – provided the Texas driver license or identification card is marked REAL ID compliant. REAL ID compliance is indicated by a gold circle with an inset star located on the upper right of the driver license or identification card. For additional information regarding the REAL ID Act, please visit

DPS strongly encourages you to renew your license prior to October 1, 2020, to ensure that you have a REAL ID compliant card.

If you have to show your ID in order to gain entry to a location, you probably need to have a card that is REAL ID compliant. If you’re not sure whether your current identification card meets the requirements, be sure to check with your state agency in charge of identification cards.

Yes, the REAL ID deadline of 2020 seems so far away. But you’ve probably experienced putting off something seemingly minor until the last minute. This is not one of those to-do items to delay and let fall off your radar. If your current identification is not REAL ID compliant, make plans soon to update it.

For more details about the REAL ID Act, visit the Department of Homeland Security REAL ID page.

And then the world changed thanks to the Coronavirus / COVID-19. The above draft got shelved because no one really cared about a REAL ID deadline when you were being told to shelter in place because a killer virus was spreading.

On March 26, 2020, the government released the following statement:

Acting Secretary Chad Wolf Statement on the REAL ID Enforcement Deadline

Due to circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the national emergency declaration, the Department of Homeland Security, as directed by President Donald J. Trump, is extending the REAL ID enforcement deadline beyond the current October 1, 2020 deadline. I have determined that states require a twelve-month delay and that the new deadline for REAL ID enforcement is October 1, 2021. DHS will publish a notice of the new deadline in the Federal Register in the coming days.

NOTE: The published Federal Register notice can be found at

Fast forward to today, April 22, 2021. There have been no other extensions announced, so the REAL ID deadline rules will take effect this October 21. Six months seems an eternity from now, but given the glacial pace of government agencies plus the backlog that many experienced during COVID, you don’t want to wait until the last minute to obtain your updated form of identification.

I’m hopeful that the world will be re-opening to travel soon, so get those REAL ID cards ready!

Here are two web pages that can answer all of your questions and make sure you’re ready to go before the REAL ID deadline:

For a complete list of acceptable forms of ID, click here.

For complete details about how REAL ID policies will affect you, go to the Department of Homeland Security’s REAL ID FAQ page.

May 5, 2021 – UPDATE – The federal government has once again delayed the deadline for REAL ID until May 3, 2023. (I guess I’ll be blogging about this subject again in two more years!)

About Helene Segura, M.A. Ed., CPO®

As The Inefficiency Assassin™, Time Management Fixer Helene Segura empowers professionals on the go with the tools to slay lost time. Personal inefficiency at work leads to increased stress levels, lower morale, higher absenteeism, more turnover – and rising spending on employee health care and hiring. Why not improve productivity, decrease stress levels, and increase profits instead? The author of four books – two of which were Amazon best-sellers – Helene Segura has been the featured organization expert in more than 200 media interviews. She has coached hundreds of clients to productivity success and performance improvement by applying neuroscience and behavioral modification techniques to wipe out destructive, time-wasting habits. Helene turns time management on its head by sharing both client case studies and pop culture examples to teach her mind-bending framework for decreasing interruptions, distractions and procrastination so that companies can spend more time generating revenue.

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