Jun. 10—Tag agencies are asking for patience and preparedness when it comes to the Oklahoma REAL ID license or identification card.
The REAL ID is an effort by states and the federal government to bolster the reliability and accuracy of state-issued IDs, with the intent to inhibit terrorists' ability to use fraudulent IDs.
The Department of Homeland Security extended the deadline for the state to become REAL ID-compliant several times. The most recent deadline was set for March 3, 2023, due to circumstances from the pandemic.
Brenda Brooks, Cherokee County tag agent, said they used to operate by appointment only for those needing to renew or obtain a driver's license or identification card, but have since stopped.
"We do it on a first come, first serve basis and normally we have all of the spaces filled by at least 10 a.m.," said Brooks. "They need to be here by the time we open to reserve a spot for that day."
Those who want to get their REAL IDs need state-issued birth certificates, Social Security number, and two proofs of physical address.
Women are required to have any and all marriages licenses and divorce decrees, unless they have a passport. All documents provided must be originals, too; the agency cannot take photocopies.
Peggy Sparks, Office Manager for Fort Gibson Tag Agency, said they've been doing REAL IDs since last August and it's something they're getting used to.
"It takes about 15 minutes per person now, verses where it was about two minutes previously," said Sparks. "Some challenges we are seeing is the time that it takes, the computer program goes down pretty frequently, and then everyone being prepared with the right documents."
Sparks said they have openings for Monday, June 14 for those needing to obtain a REAL ID.
During a June 5 Saturday Forum on Facebook, Tahlequah Daily Press asked readers if they had switched their driver's license to a REAL ID, or if they planned to.
Tabatha Hibbs said she would keep her passport up to date due to the amount of paperwork involved when getting a REAL ID.
"It's far easier, in terms of documentation, to get and maintain a passport than a REAL ID," said Hibbs. "However, the price of a passport would be prohibitive for many, I suspect. That's a shame as the process is easier."
Cathy Cott said the process to obtain a REAL ID is chaotic and she will likely get a passport and regular driver's license.
Teresa Keen got her REAL ID and said she waited about 30 minutes, with all of the supporting documents.
Brooks said it is imperative for everyone to bring all appropriate documentation when obtaining a REAL ID.
The Cherokee County Tag Agency had been dealing with some delays since the beginning of the year, working along with others to issue the new forms of identification. There were times when the agency's equipment would go down for two to three hours.
"It's not nearly as bad and they've gotten a lot of that under control because we haven't had any real problems with the equipment in quite awhile," said Brooks.
There is no wait to get tags renewed or title work of any kind, and Brooks stressed that people can go into the tag agency, sign in, and get their tag or title work.
The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety relaunched its Mobile ID app in January. The app gives users the ability to pre-enroll for the REAL ID.
Mobile ID is the digitized version of a physical driver's license. People can store their identification on their phone safely and securely. Mobile ID users can utilize the app's checklist to confirm they have correct documents, upload those using a smartphone camera, and answer a questionnaire.
While the digital identification is accepted in many instances, it doesn't replace a physical identification card for all situations, such as interactions with law enforcement or the Transportation Security Administration.
Oklahomans planning to fly anywhere after the recent extended deadline will have to get a REAL ID license or identification card. However, TSA will accept any state-issued current Oklahoma driver's license or ID card.
What you said
The TDP asked readers on its website what their status was in terms of Oklahoma's REAL ID. Forty percent said they have not gotten their REAL ID, but will do so when they have to renew their license. Twenty-two percent do not plan to get the REAL ID because they have another form of ID, while 14 percent said they have already received their REAL ID. Twelve present plan to get the REAL ID in the next few months, and eight percent won't get the ID as they will not be flying or doing anything else that requires one.