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Grace period in place while Oklahoma leaders wait for REAL ID extension

OKLAHOMA CITY – While state leaders continue to wait to see if Oklahoma will receive another extension to become compliant with the REAL ID Act, officials are telling Oklahomans to not worry just yet.

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.

Over the last few years, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has given Oklahoma several extensions to meet the requirements in the REAL ID Act.

Without the extensions, federal agencies would have been prohibited from accepting Oklahoma driver’s licenses as proper identification cards.

 

However, the department recently warned Oklahoma lawmakers that they needed to pass a bill in 2017 that would commit Oklahoma to all of the REAL ID requirements.

This past 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 June, Oklahoma received an extension until Oct. 10, 2017 to meet the requirements in the REAL ID Act.

While the extension is set to expire on Tuesday, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety says that a grace period will be enacted if the state does not receive another extension in time.

According to the agency, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security granted “all states that have extensions expiring on October 10th another grace period until January 22, 2018.”

Officials say Oklahoma driver’s licenses will still be able to be used to get into federal buildings, military installations and board a commercial aircraft until Jan. 22, 2018.

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 could take more than two years to become fully compliant with the law.