On March 26, 2020, Acting Secretary Chad Wolf of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that:

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.

DHS wants to remove any impediments to response and recovery efforts. Real ID requires states to issue or re-issue driver licenses only after review of citizenship and residency documents by state departments of motor vehicles (DMVs).  States across the country are temporarily closing or restricting access to DMVs. This action will preclude millions of people from applying for and receiving their REAL ID. Extending the deadline will also allow DHS to work with Congress to implement needed changes to expedite the issuance of REAL IDs once the current health crisis concludes.