The deadline for Americans to obtain a REAL ID card has been pushed back once again due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security announced on Tuesday.
The new enforcement date is now May 3, 2023.
The federal government says air travelers 18 or older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or identification card or another TSA-acceptable for security checkpoints to fly domestically.
The regulation was put in place in 2005 to ensure that travelers' identity in light of the 9/11 attacks, according to the DHS, but only recently did all 50 states come into compliance.
Last year, the deadline was pushed back to October 1, 2021, after the coronavirus outbreak. State governors had been pushing for the enforcement date to be delayed again as the country continues to recover from the pandemic.
The DHS says as of now, only 43% of all state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards are currently REAL ID-compliant. The extension will give states more time to implement the new cards.
"Extending the REAL ID full enforcement deadline will give states needed time to reopen their driver's licensing operations and ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card," Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a news release on Tuesday.