OKLAHOMA CITY – State leaders say they have several more months to become compliant with the REAL ID Act after receiving a crucial extension.
The REAL ID Act was put in place in 2005 to improve the reliability of state issued ID’s, making it harder for terrorists to obtain fake identification.
However, Oklahoma passed a law in 2007 that said our state wouldn’t comply with the REAL ID Act, citing concerns about how residents’ information was stored.
In January, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that Oklahoma had received an extension through June 6, 2017 to meet the requirements in the REAL ID Act.
But, the department warned, if the state failed to act during the 2017 legislative session on legislation committing Oklahoma to all the REAL ID requirements, the state could be denied for other extension requests.
Without the extension, federal agencies would have been prohibited from accepting Oklahoma driver’s licenses as proper identification cards.
This legislative session, House Bill 1845 was signed into law, which would give Oklahomans the choice of either getting a REAL ID compliant license or keeping their current Oklahoma driver’s license.
Even though lawmakers approved the bill, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety said that another extension would be needed.
In April, the Department of Public Safety requested another extension from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
On Friday, Gov. Mary Fallin announced that Oklahoma had received an extension to meet the requirement in the REAL ID Act through Oct. 10, 2017.
While that is good news for Oklahomans, state officials say several other extensions will be needed in the future.
In fact, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety says it will likely take between 24 and 30 months to become fully compliant with the law.
“This is great news for Oklahomans as it means there will be no restrictions on individuals using Oklahoma licenses to access federal buildings through October 10,” said Fallin. “We will request additional extensions until we are fully compliant with the REAL ID Act.”
Beginning on Jan. 22, 2018, a driver’s license or state ID from a state that is not compliant with the REAL ID Act will not be accepted to board a commercial aircraft within the United States.