OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Although the coronavirus pandemic slowed down the state’s progress toward becoming REAL ID compliant, state leaders say Oklahomans will soon be able to get those identification cards.
On Thursday, Gov. Kevin Stitt and First Lady Sarah Stitt stopped by the Department of Public Safety office in Oklahoma City to obtain their REAL ID compliant licenses.
Gov. Stitt says that he and his wife came by DPS in order to test the new system, which was originally scheduled to be in place by April of 2020.
As the coronavirus pandemic spread across the globe, state officials soon realized that it would not be safe to allow thousands of Oklahomans to gather at DPS facilities for the REAL ID process.
“DPS has not been able to get the new work stations across the state and has not not been able to train DPS employees and tag agents because of social distancing guidelines. Employees have still been working diligently on getting REAL ID processes up and running and DPS hopes to be offering this service soon,” a release from the agency read last week.
Although the initial plans were to have REAL ID systems in place in certain locations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa in April, state leaders say those plans were delayed a little.
Gov. Stitt says that Oklahomans will be able to begin getting their REAL IDs at select locations in July.
Officials stress that even though Oklahoma’s implementation is delayed, Oklahomans should have plenty of time to get a REAL ID before the deadline.
The coronavirus pandemic caused national officials to push back the deadline until October of 2021.
“The federal state and local response to the spread of #coronavirus here in the US necessitates a delay in this deadline,” Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced on Twitter.
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.
In 2007, Oklahoma passed a law 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.
In 2017, 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. Oklahoma is still one of just a few states that are not REAL ID-compliant.
Initially, officials with the TSA said that the REAL ID Act would be in full effect at airports and government facilities across the country in October.
Oklahomans will need to provide proof of identity, proof of Social Security, and two proofs of residency in order to obtain a REAL ID.
Officials stress that even if you are renewing your license, you will need to show those documents. If you don’t have those documents on hand, state leaders say you should start working to obtain them as quickly as possible.