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Important Information on REAL ID Act Deadline and Driver's License Extensions

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the national emergency declaration, the Department of Homeland Security is extending the REAL ID Act enforcement deadline for state-issued driver's licenses by one year. The new deadline for REAL ID enforcement is October 1, 2021.

As a reminder, the Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies, such as the NIH, from accepting for official purposes, licenses and identification cards that do not meet these standards. Once enforcement is in effect, this directly influences access to federal facilities (including NIH) and airport security for boarding an airplane. (For more information, visit:

Important note: The extension does not change the current requirement for commercial drivers of vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds. This license for a commercial driver must be in compliance with the REAL ID Act to enter NIH facilities.

If you are not sure if you have a REAL ID-compliant driver's license, look for a star at the top of the card. If you are still not sure, contact your state driver's license agency on how to obtain a REAL ID compliant license.

Extension of Driver's License Expiration Dates

Many states, including Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, have ordered an extension of all driver's licenses, identification cards, permits, handicap placards, and registrations that expire or are eligible for renewal during the state of emergency.

For Maryland, the extension lasts until the 30th day of the month after the state of emergency has been lifted.

For Virginia, the extension for cards expiring on or before June 10, is extended for 90 days, not to exceed July 31, 2020.

For Washington, DC, the expiration date for all documents, including driver's licenses, expiring March 1 through May 15 is extended until June 29. A waiver without penalty has been granted until the Department of Motor Vehicles "reopens at full operating capacity."

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