The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended the REAL ID deadline to October 1, 2021, giving states more time to meet federal REAL ID requirements.
The one-year extension will allow nearly 300,000 Marylanders to become REAL ID compliant through their standard driver’s license renewal process.
Governor Larry Hogan, Chairman of the National Governors Association, appealed to DHS on behalf of America’s governors, asking for the extension as many motor vehicle authorities across the nation, including in Maryland, made the decision to close during the COVID-19 health crisis.
“We are glad the decision was made to extend the REAL ID deadline as we continue to focus our time and resources fighting this pandemic,” said Governor Hogan. “With many services suspended or delayed as a result of COVID-19, this extension will give Marylanders – and citizens across the nation – more time to complete the process once services have returned to normal.”
In Maryland, more than 66% of licensed drivers and identification card holders – about 3.1 million residents – are REAL ID compliant, well above the national average of 34% released by DHS in February.
The federal REAL ID Act was passed by Congress after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and set the date of October 1, 2020, for people to have a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or identification card in order to board commercial aircraft or gain access to federal facilities.
With the extension to October 1, 2021, nearly 300,000 Marylanders will now have the chance to present documents during their standard license renewal process, without having to make a separate trip to a branch office. Other customers who received letters with a deadline to provide REAL ID documents from March through July will receive correspondence this week extending their deadline.
“While I appreciate the responsiveness of Marylanders to REAL ID, our top priority is the safety of our customers and employees,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer. “I am grateful for Governor Hogan’s leadership in advocating for the deadline to be extended and hope the extension will provide some relief during this difficult time.”
Governor Hogan announced the closure of all MDOT MVA branch offices effective March 20, 2020. While offices are closed until further notice, MDOT MVA continues to process emergency business needs such as Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) to get truck drivers on the road and keep commerce moving.
Customers needing those emergency services should call 1-800-950-1682 or email COVID19MVAAction@mdot.maryland.gov.
Governor Hogan has also ordered an extension of all driver’s and business licenses, identification cards, permits and registrations that have expiration dates from March 12 through the end of Maryland’s state of emergency. As a result, driver’s licenses, identification cards and learner’s permits that expired on or after March 12 will remain valid for 30 days after the state of emergency has been lifted.
Additionally, the MDOT MVA eStore and self-service kiosks are available to complete many MDOT MVA transactions including vehicle registration renewals, change of address, insurance compliance payments, title replacements, license plate purchases/replacements and information on flag fees. For more information on online services and operational changes visit the MDOT MVA COVID-19 page.