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More than 96 percent of Utahns are REAL ID compliant as deadline pushed to 2025

Posted at 10:09 AM, Dec 16, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY — The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) just extended the amount of time that Americans have to become REAL ID-compliant from May 3, 2023 to May 7, 2025.

The deadline for REAL ID has been delayed several times since Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005, which sets uniform security standards nationwide for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards.

A Utah driver’s license will have a gold star in the top right corner if it’s a REAL ID. It must be shown to fly domestically and gain access to certain federal facilities when the law is eventually enforced.

According to DHS data available, only 43 percent of Americans have one. However, the State of Utah is fairing much better.

“We have over 96 percent of our population carrying that REAL ID card. A lot of other states have not had that high-end adoption rate,” Chris Caras, director of the Driver License Division for the Utah Department of Public Safety explained.

While Utah initially passed legislation that opted out of REAL ID compliance, that changed in 2018 when they repealed it. This paved the way for gold stars to be placed on qualifying driver licenses prior to a proposed 2020 enforcement deadline.

For those who had to renew licenses after 2020, the license division sent enhanced IDs directly to homes in Utah, which made it as convenient as possible for residents.

“There’s no reason why somebody who has already applied for a Utah license and qualifies, not to actually have a gold star license in their possession,” explained Caras.

However, four percent still don’t have a REAL ID, which includes people new to the state. If that’s you, Caras advises people to schedule an appointment online to obtain a REAL ID from a driver license field office.

You must show several documents to prove your identity, too.

Ultimately, Caras said roughly 30,000-38,000 people in The Beehive State won’t be REAL ID-compliant because they won’t have the documents they need, which includes those in the country on a temporary work visa.

If you fall into that category, you must show another acceptable form of identification to board flights in the United States by May 7, 2025, unless DHS decides to postpone the deadline again.