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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

REAL ID requirement for travel to mainland US takes effect in May

By The Star Staff

Transportation and Public Works (DTOP by its Spanish acronym) Secretary Eileen Vélez Vega reminded citizens on Sunday that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security extended the deadline for a REAL ID document to be required to travel in the United States until May 3, 2023.

Vélez Vega affirmed that as of that date, American citizens must have the REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification, or a passport or passport card to make domestic flights and/or visit restricted federal facilities.

“Our encouragement to all citizens is to add the REAL ID to your driver’s license or identification card to avoid setbacks if you are going to travel to the United States,” the DTOP secretary said in a written statement. “After May 3, 2023, the license or identification without REAL ID can no longer be used to make domestic flights and visit certain federal facilities, unless citizens have a passport or passport card. We invite you to make your appointment to add REAL ID.”

Vélez Vega noted that citizens do not have to wait for their license or identification to expire to make the change to REAL ID, nor do they have to wait until May 2023. They can make an appointment through the CESCO Appointments system, either by using the CESCO Digital mobile application or by going to and renewing their driver’s license so that it complies with the REAL ID format.

Vélez Vega added that the regular driver’s license will continue to be valid for all official transactions in Puerto Rico, including driving a motor vehicle. Even after May 2023, regular driver’s license holders will not be affected.

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