Oklahomans who use their state-issued ID cards or driver licenses as a form of identification need to be aware that these means of ID may not grant access to federal buildings or commercial aircraft in the near future. Please see the attached news release for detailed information.
The REAL ID Act of 2005 was enacted by the federal government and signed into law by President George W. Bush on May 11, 2005. Included in the act were minimum security
standards for state driver licenses and identification cards. One of the goals of the Act is to make state driver licenses more secure and less susceptible to counterfeit or forgery.
The REAL ID Act prohibits federal agencies from accepting a state-issued driver license or identification card for any official purpose unless the card or license is issued by a state that meets the requirements set forth in the Act.
In November 2007, the Oklahoma Legislature enacted section 6-110.3 of Title 47 of the Oklahoma Statutes, prohibiting the Department of Public Safety from implementing any
provisions of the REAL ID Act of 2005. Currently, identification cards and driver licenses issued by the Department of Public Safety do not meet the Act’s requirements; however, many of the Act’s requirements are best practices in the driver license industry, and many were already being implemented by the Department prior to passage of the REAL ID Act. By following industry best practices, Oklahoma currently meets 65 percent of the components necessary to be considered REAL ID compliant. However, under current state law, the Department is still unable to meet all of the components.
What this means for Oklahomans is that their state-issued identification card or driver license may no longer be accepted by federal agencies for official purposes, such as gaining access to federal facilities, access to military installations, or boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.
As of this date, some federal facilities are already refusing to accept cards or licenses from noncompliant states. On the other hand, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says that it will continue to accept driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards from Oklahoma and other non-compliant states at least until 2016. The Department of Public Safety is currently working with the Oklahoma Governor’s Office, the Oklahoma Legislature, members of Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to find a solution that will prevent Oklahomans presenting an Oklahoma identification card or driver license, from being denied access to federal facilities or denied the ability to board commercial aircraft.
The Department has sought additional time to come into compliance as well as clarification on the timelines and restrictions associated with the REAL ID Act’s requirements.
Until the Department of Public Safety is authorized by Oklahoma law to issue identification cards and driver licenses that meet the requirements of the REAL ID Act, Oklahomans should plan accordingly to obtain alternate forms of identification that will permit them access to federal facilities or board commercial aircraft.
For more information on the REAL ID Act, to include information on acceptable forms of identification for boarding aircraft, citizens should visit the official website of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at http://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs.
Although Oklahoma is listed on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website as a compliant state, citizens should be mindful that Oklahoma has only been granted an extension of the date to comply, but that extension expires on October 10, 2015.