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McCarran, National Airports see a further delay in federal real ID implementation

Date posted: April 30, 2021, 12:54 pm

Last Updated: April 30, 2021, 12:54 PM.

Ed Silverstein

Many Las Vegas airline passengers received a deferral this week after federal officials decided to delay implementation of Real ID by 19 months. The more stringent requirement for an ID card was to enter into force in October. Now it will be in effect on May 3, 2023.

For most passengers, it will mean going to their state's Department of Motor Vehicles office and getting a new driver's license
The photo shows the secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. This week, he announced that the Real ID implementation date would be delayed again. (Image: Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)

Previously, the implementation date was delayed last year. The requirement has been postponed due to the COVID - 19 pandemic.

For most passengers, this will mean going to their state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office and getting a new driver's license that is similar to the current ones. It is just more difficult to copy or modify a new ID card than current driving licenses.

"This mandate is not good or bad for Las Vegas and Nevada," Sergio Avila, AAA spokesman in Northern California, Nevada and Utah said .

It's just something travelers need to be aware of. If travelers are able to obtain a Real ID, they should do so as soon as possible so that they don't have to worry about this authorization once it takes effect. "

Nationally alone, 43 percent of all state-issued driving licenses and ID cards currently match the actual ID. Without a last minute delay, there could be an increase in applications from the state DMV offices.

Announcing delayed implementation, Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a statement this week, the pandemic "has significantly impacted states' ability to issue Real ID-compliant driving licenses and identification cards, with many licensing agencies still operating with limited opportunities ".

Mayorkas said the extension "will give states time to reopen their driver licensing business and make sure residents can obtain a driver's license or ID that matches an actual ID. "

But on May 3, 2023, anyone traveling on an airplane 18 years of age and older will need a driver's license or ID that matches an actual ID card, an extended state-issued driver's license, or some other form of TSA-approved identification at airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel, adds the statement. Passports are among the allowed documents.

Long lines at DMV offices due to COVID-related closings were largely the cause behind the recent postponement. In recent months, many DMV offices have extended their license renewal dates and chose a schedule for pandemic meetings only.

But from now on, all 50 issue Real ID-compliant driving licenses and ID cards.

Electronic folding

In addition, DHS and state agencies still need time to shorten processing time into the Real ID application process. They want to provide electronic submission of the required supporting documents. For example, Nevada requires several documents to get a real ID.

Congress passed the Real ID Act in 2005. This was largely a response to the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001.

"Real IDs are designed to improve the credibility and accuracy of driving licenses and identification cards, while preventing terrorists and others from avoiding detection by using false identification," explained TSA spokesman Lorie Dankers earlier this month.

McCarran's passenger numbers are growing

The delay in the ID required is due to the expected increase in passenger numbers using McCarran in the coming months, given the availability of the COVID -19 vaccine. The numbers have dropped due to the pandemic.

Last month, the airport handled 2.6 million passengers. This is a 25 percent jump of 2 million passengers in March 2020. That's 60 percent over 1.6 million passengers in February, 2021, Las Vegas Review-Journal reported based on data from the Clark County Department of Aviation.

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