DTOP and PRFAA Inform that the Department of Homeland Security Has Extended the Deadline to Obtain a Real ID until May 3, 2023

They urge not to wait until the last minute and apply for it to avoid travel setbacks.

(Washington, DC – April 27, 2021) – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced an extension of the deadline – from October 1, 2021, to May 3, 2023 – for U.S. citizens to take domestic flights or visit restricted federal facilities without the need for a Real ID, the Secretary of Transportation and Public Works, Eileen M. Vélez Vega, urged citizens to apply for and obtain one, and to not wait until the last minute.

Vélez Vega made the call jointly with the Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA), Carmen M. Feliciano, stating that “people do not have to wait until their licenses expire to make the change to Real ID, nor do they have to wait until May 2023. They can make an appointment as early as now through the ‘CESCO Citas’system, either by using the CESCO Digital mobile app or by logging on to cesco.turnospr.com and renewing their driver’s license to comply with the Real ID format.”

“We urge citizens not to leave this matter for the last minute. While it is true that for domestic flights—meaning between Puerto Rico, the 50 states, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands—you can do so with your driver’s license, it is also true that in some states there have been reports of car rental dealers, for example, not renting to you if you do not have a license in Real ID format. To avoid mishaps, we invite you not to leave it to the last minute to change or apply for your license or ID in Real ID format,” the Secretary added. 

For her part, Director Feliciano explained that “after 9/11, the Federal government implemented stricter regulations for the issuance of identification documents, such as birth certificates and driver’s licenses, in all jurisdictions. These standards set minimum requirements for the secure issuance and production of driver’s licenses and identification cards by the state, known as Real ID.”

“While we urge citizens to apply for and obtain their Real ID, it is important to emphasize that this law is voluntary. However, without it, they will not be able to take domestic flights or visit federal facilities. If the person believes he or she will never take a domestic flight, does not plan to visit restricted federal facilities, or is under 15 years of age, he or she does not need a Real ID,” she said.

Feliciano also clarified that the Real ID does not replace your Passport if you want to travel somewhere outside the United States jurisdiction. Your Passport or identification card issued by the U.S. Department of State will always be required. 

Finally, the Secretary of Transportation and Public Works explained that “the current driver’s license will continue to be valid for all official transactions in Puerto Rico, including driving a motor vehicle. Even after May 2023, persons holding a regular driver’s license will not be affected unless they need to travel between Puerto Rico and any U.S. jurisdiction or visit any federal facility.”

To apply for Real ID:

  • The following documents must be submitted: completed application, birth certificate, Social Security card, and evidence of physical address, such as a water or electricity bill for the last two months.
  • If the person is a foreigner, he/she must show current evidence of his/her lawful presence in the United States as of the date of applying and the corresponding Internal Revenue receipts. 
  • Parents of minors must obtain a Real ID for their children by completing an application, bringing a birth certificate issued within the last 6 months, a Social Security card, or a valid passport of the minor. If the parents are divorced, the evidence must be presented to establish that the applicant has custody of the child. In addition, a $20.00 stamp from the Department of Treasury is required. 
  • Children under 16 years of age are not issued a Real ID.

Who will need a Real ID as of May 3, 2023?

  • Anyone traveling to, from, or between one of the 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands.
  • Anyone visiting a restricted federal facility, such as a nuclear power plant.

Who does NOT need to get a Real ID after May 3, 2023?

  • Anyone who does not plan to travel to, from, or between one of the 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands.
  • Anyone who is not required to visit a restricted federal facility.
  • Anyone who has a passport, either book or card.
  • Minors under 16 years of age.

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