By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Homeland Security Department (DHS) said Monday it will delay enforcement of rules requiring Americans to get new identification cards in order to board airplanes or enter a federal building, by another two years to May 2025.
The U.S. Congress in 2005 approved federal standards for issuing identification cards but enforcement has been repeatedly pushed back. DHS in April 2021 had pushed back the "REAL ID" enforcement deadline until May 2023.
The new delay is 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.
The 2005 law enacted the Sept. 11 commission's recommendation that the U.S. government "set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses."
The law sets minimum security standards for license issuance and production.
As of June, only around half of the eligible population had REAL IDs and the number of Americans obtaining them is increasing at a very slow rate. That figure is up from about 43% as of April 2021.
Airports Council International – North America chief executive officer Kevin Burke praised the decision to push the deadline because few people still have the cards. It will help "prevent undue travel disruptions" and preserve "the health of the aviation system as we continue to navigate the pandemic's impacts on global air travel," he said.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Sandra Maler)
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