OKLAHOMA CITY – While millions of Americans take to the skies every day, officials with the Transportation Security Administration say thousands may be turned away at the airport next year for not having a REAL ID-compliant license.
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.
Oklahoma is one of just a handful of states that is not REAL ID-compliant.
On Tuesday, officials with TSA reminded travelers that the REAL ID Act would be fully implemented on Oct. 1, 2020. However, they say many Americans are not ready for the change.
According to a survey by the U.S. Travel Association, nearly 40 percent of Americans don’t have a REAL ID or any other form of identification that will be accepted at airport security checkpoints.
While travelers will be able to use U.S. passports or military IDs to board flights in 2020, they fear the millions of Americans who use state-issued IDs will be caught off guard.
“We are going from a scenario where about 90 percent of the American public has the ability to fly today using any of their identification, but all of a sudden on October 1, 2020, if that doesn’t change, we have 40 percent of the population that may not be able to fly,” Erik Hansen, vice president of government relations at the U.S. Travel Association, told the Washington Post.
In August, Oklahoma state leaders told News 4 that they had requested an extension until October 2020.
If that extension is granted, it might still be a struggle to get all Oklahomans compliant before the deadline.
“According to the latest timeline given to the Department of Public Safety by the vendor, the project maintains its progression toward the estimated target date of April 2020 for initial rollout. Additionally, full statewide implementation will be completed by September 2020,” the extension request read.