The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is extending the Real ID enforcement deadline to Oct. 1, 2021 due to circumstances surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and the national emergency declaration.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said in a release that he determined that states require a 12-month delay to remove any obstructions to response and recovery efforts by state and local partners who are working to “flatten the curve” for COVID-19.

States across the country have closed or restricted access to DMVs, which has prevented millions of people from applying for their Real ID and receiving their Real ID, he said.

“Extending the deadline will also allow the department to work with Congress to implement needed changes to expedite the issuance of Real IDs once the current health crisis concludes," Wolf stated.

He said, the department will publish a notice of the new deadline in the Federal Register in the next few days.

On a related note, the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Monday suspended all written and skill-based driving tests statewide in view of recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol Colonel Eric Olson announced the immediate suspension of driving tests at all locations in Missouri through April 6. 

Olson said this includes tests for an operator’s license, a commercial license and motorcycle testing. 

The patrol is monitoring the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and will update the public on testing as more information becomes available.

Also, on March 21, the Missouri Department of Revenue implemented automatic 60-day extensions for expiring driver licenses and motor vehicle registrations. The department said the automatic extensions would help alleviate public congestion in local license offices.