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COVID-19 Pushed Back REAL ID

by Angelique Platas

Apr 3, 2020

Photo: Wavebreakmedia Ltd | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

On March 26, The Department of Homeland Security announced a one-year REAL ID enforcement delay — the U.S. Travel Association praised the decision, but advised a longer extension may be necessary. The implementation must be calculated and cautious, as to prevent any further travel disruptions and subsequent crash of the American travel economy, already devastated by the coronavirus crisis.

 

U.S. Travel and Longwoods International compiled market research, claiming if REAL ID were implemented today, an estimated 67,400 travelers would be turned away by airport security on the first day, and more than 471,800 in the first week.

 

In a letter to acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, the U.S. Travel Association cited data stating the United States had yet to make significant moves toward enforcing REAL ID before COVID-19.

 

“As the administration considers a new enforcement date, the travel industry encourages you to ensure that enforcement would not negatively impact the travel and tourism industry,” the letter read. “The current growth in the compliance rate coupled with historical recovery rate after significant economic decline indicates even the most optimistic scenario would take at least two years for Americans and the economy to adequately handle enforcement.”

 

The latest REAL ID compliance figures have not changed substantially from data released in September by U.S. Travel — despite positive steps made by the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to increase flexibility in the REAL ID application process and broaden public knowledge.

 

“The already difficult task of bringing the country closer to REAL ID compliance is now clearly impossible due to the coronavirus crisis,” said Roger Dow, CEO and President, U.S. Travel. “Over the next 18 months people will be focused on building their lives back, not going to the DMV. The economic damage of coronavirus is already massive, and as we move toward a recovery phase it would be awful if the REAL ID deadline hits and creates yet another obstacle to people traveling.”

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