The Department of Public Safety said its statewide roll out of Real ID’s is finally coming to fruition in Tulsa.
DPS began issuing Real ID's in Tulsa this week at its Eastgate Metroplex office, along with 8 other tag agencies across the city.
Beginning next week, DPS will be moving into the Broken Arrow and West Tulsa Areas with 13 additional tag agencies.
They issued their first Real ID on June 29th in the Oklahoma City area. The department tells News On 6 they went from Oklahoma City to Edmond, then they ventured to South Oklahoma City, and on Monday they finally began distribution in Tulsa.
Sarah Stewart is the director of media operations for the Department of Public Safety. She said the department’s fluid goal is having this available anywhere in the state of Oklahoma by the end of October. Stewart said DPS’ Tulsa office is already seeing an increase in foot traffic.
"So far, it's been going pretty well. I talked to the supervisor here. They've been busy, but this location is pretty much always busy. That's nothing new for them,” said Stewart. “[The supervisor] did say they are having to turn away a lot more walk-ins, because a lot of people are making appointments."
The state of Oklahoma doesn’t require you do get a Real ID; however, DPS representatives said they highly recommend it.
Stewart said that the turnout is great, but she doesn’t want people to feel pressed for time. She said before Real IDs were available, they were typically taking 120 walk-ins a day, but on Thursday they were only able to take about 20.
"You don't have to rush out and get this. The federal deadline is now October 1 of next year, of 2021,” said Stewart. “You know, if you have a passport, we would suggest that you wait until your license expire, because you're good to go. You're going to be able to fly beginning of October 1 next year anyway."
By that time next year, you need to have a Real ID or some other form of Real ID compliant identification like a passport or a military ID to board a plane and fly domestically. Real IDs are also required to enter federal facilities or nuclear powerplants. Children under the age of 18 do not have to have a Real ID, but parents can choose to get their child one if they want.
"Most people are going to be concerned about the flying piece of this," Stewart said.
Those interested will need to provide proof of identity. DPS representatives said that for most people, this will include a state issued birth certificate or a passport. You will also need proof of social security, such as a social security card, a W-2 or a 1099. The last thing on the list includes two proofs of residency. Stewart said most people use a mortgage lease agreement and a utility bill.
Stewart said many people still have reservations about providing that much documentation, as well as concerns regarding privacy; however, she wants people to know that these records are secured at the state level.
"So far, everyone that's been coming in has done their homework ahead of time and has brought in the correct documents, which we really like to hear, because we've been really pushing that because we don't like to have to turn people away," Stewart said.
If you’ve had a name change and your name is different than what's on your proof of identity document due to marriage, divorce or adoption, you need to bring in proof of that name change.
"The whole idea behind it is to make sure you are who you say you are and that they identification documents that you have belong to you,” said Stewart. “As you know, this all came about because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the terrorists were able to get fake IDs and get on these planes and crash them, and so the 9/11 Commission came up with recommendations for this to prevent this from happening again, and one of their recommendations was a minimum set of security standards for state issued drivers licenses and IDs.”
She said she wants people to know that this is a choice and they get to decide how to make it.
"You do not have to get a Real ID. When the Oklahoma legislature passed the law in our state, they made so that our citizens have a choice,” said Stewart. “[…] The only difference between the Real ID and the non-real ID compliant one… instead of the star up here [points to top right corner] it will say, 'Not for Real ID purposes.’”
Even the prices are the same when comparing a regular state ID to a Real ID. When you go to get your Real ID, you will walk out with a temporary paper license, and your Real ID will arrive within the following five to seven business days.
Law enforcement has been made aware of what the temporary licenses look like, and they are valid while waiting for the arrival of your official Real ID.
According to the Department of Public Safety, their original goal was to be issuing Real IDs by the end of April, but then COVID-19 hit and they were at a temporary standstill—back-ordering new equipment, closing offices and keeping crowds to a minimum. Stewart said this is a brand-new system for them and the process has not only been delayed by COVID-19 but by new workflow.
"This is one of the reasons it's taking so long to roll this out in the entire state, because we have to install brand new equipment, brand new computer systems, and scanners,” said Stewart. “That is one of the things that's different, you know? Whereas, before, you would come in and if it was your first time getting a license you show us these documents, we'd examine them and then hand them back to you. Now we're taking those documents, scanning them so we can store them in our system and then giving them back to them.”
This year isn’t the first we’ve heard of Real IDs, though. It has been in the works for quite some time. According to DPS, Congress passed the Real ID Act back in 2005. Stewart said in 2007, the Oklahoma legislature passed a law prohibiting DPS from complying with that law, and it wasn't until 2017 that they passed another law saying ‘okay we can now come into compliance with this.’
Stewart said the wait has been well worth it.
"We rushed out, we got our vendor and started the process right away, but yes this has been something, it's been a long time coming,” said Stewart. “We have put countless hours of hard work into getting this ready for the state of Oklahoma. So, this is very gratifying for us to finally have this here. [To] finally be able to offer this to our citizens."
For more information on how you can get a Real ID, click here.