Oklahoma has received another extension to comply with Real ID, meaning the federal government will continue to recognize the state’s driver’s licenses and ID cards.
The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety announced Thursday the U.S. Department of Homeland Security granted the state’s request to extend the Oct. 10 deadline for the state’s compliance with the Real ID Act until September 2020.
The federal government will continue to recognize Oklahoma driver’s licenses and ID cards for flying on commercial airlines or accessing federal facilities until Sept. 18, according to the news release.
Gov. Kevin Stitt said DPS is working quickly to take the necessary steps, such as training employees and updating systems, to implement Real ID.
“This will be the final extension needed for our state to become fully compliant with federal law, as Oklahoma is set to begin issuing the updated IDs later next year,” Stitt said in the release. “We are prioritizing this project in order to ensure our citizens can continue to use their Oklahoma licenses to travel seamlessly across the U.S. and enter federal facilities.”
The act, passed in 2005, was intended to make forging driver’s licenses more difficult, but Oklahoma legislators passed a bill in 2007 preventing the state from meeting the act’s provisions.
State officials began working to build a compliant system in 2017 under former Gov. Mary Fallin, and on Thursday, Oklahoma was one of five U.S. states and territories still not compliant, according to Homeland Security.
National compliance with the act is mandated by Oct. 1, 2020.
Sarah Stewart, a spokeswoman for DPS, said the agency plans to begin issuing Real ID documents from select locations, likely larger metro areas such as Oklahoma City and Tulsa, on April 30, 2020, and Real ID licenses and cards will be available statewide by Aug. 31, 2020.
Stewart emphasized that Oklahomans will not be required to have a Real ID to travel as long as they have another acceptable form of identification, such as a passport or military ID.
Public Safety Commissioner John Scully said implementing the Real ID Act is the “No. 1 priority” of his agency.
“We know Oklahomans are anxious for our state to become REAL ID compliant,” Scully said in the release, adding that DPS will release more information on obtaining Real IDs “in the near future” and officials intend to make the process “as easy as possible.”