The U.S. Travel Association issued the following statement with 12 months remaining until the full REAL ID enforcement deadline:
“With the U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimating that little more than a third of Americans have REAL IDs, full compliance is not realistically within reach in time for the October 1, 2021 deadline. In order to avoid disruption to air travel at a time when travel will be vital for powering a national economic and jobs recovery, the federal government should again push back the REAL ID enforcement deadline.
“The delay should last until further measures are in place to prevent a scenario in which flyers are turned away at airport security checkpoints. These should include: TSA Precheck enrollment as an acceptable alternative for REAL ID; the development of procedures to process passengers who don’t have a REAL ID; and allowing states to use modern identity verification options not available when REAL ID was first enacted in 2005.
“Travel supported 15.8 million American jobs prior to the pandemic, half of which were wiped out as of May 1. The last thing the struggling travel sector needs is a looming deadline that will stunt recovery—or, worse, trigger a new decline. Congress should therefore direct the Department of Homeland Security to certify that air travel will not be negatively affected by REAL ID enforcement before setting a new deadline.
“We stand ready to work with Congress and the executive branch to ensure the safety and security of air travel and identification standards, and to help REAL ID be achieved on a workable timetable.”
U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry. In 2020, travel generated $1.5 trillion in economic output and supported 11 million jobs, a drastic decline from pre-pandemic figures. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit ustravel.org for information and recovery-related data.