The Real ID Act of 2005, an Act of Congress requires that everyone must obtain a Real ID or be prepared to provide another federally approved document of identification like passports (which are still required for international flights), passport cards and trusted traveler identification like Global Entry when boarding flights in the US. The good news is that due to the Coronavirus pandemic affecting DMV operations across the country, the deadline to obtain a Real ID has been extended to October 2021. The government’s action is a reflection of the true national Emergency as a result of Covid-19 in the US resulting in most government offices to have limited to suspended hours of operation in light of maintaining social distancing.
The extension of the deadline to obtain the Real Id will ensure that everyone will have the security-enhanced and federally approved identification to board domestic flights.
Hence with the new deadline of October 1, 2021 everyone including foreign nationals on a non-immigrant visa in the US will require a Real ID to board a domestic flight or enter a federal building.
A valid driver’s license is required to obtain liability insurance and be legally employed at a US firm. While the current form of driver’s license acts as an identifying document, certain states have the right to demand additional evidence to prove legal status. In such circumstances, workers on H1-B, H4 EAD, or L1 visas, will have to ensure they have a:
1. Valid I-94
2. Valid work visa
3. An employer letter showing a work contract
4. An approved I-797 or I-485, where applicable
Existing driver’s licenses will continue to serve the following purposes:
1. Approved privilege of driving a car
2. Accessing federal benefits
3. Entering national parks and
4. Travel within the US including driving in and across state lines or riding a train.