As COVID-19 starts to get in our rearview mirror, many people have again started to make plans for travel that will include domestic airline travel. If you are in this group, it is important to remember that we are coming up to the final deadline for when you can still use your old Oregon driver’s license as a valid ID to board the plane. As before, you still need a passport to fly internationally.
Back in 2008, the federal government enacted the REAL ID Act, which set out minimum security requirements for the issuance and production of driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by the states, territories, and the District of Columbia in order for federal agencies to accept these documents for official purposes. While the list of “official purposes” ran from the mundane (accessing federal facilities) to the exotic (entering nuclear power plants), the purpose that affected most people was for boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.
Since 2008, every state except Oregon and Oklahoma has complied, and Oregon had received several extensions, allowing non-compliant Oregon Driver’s licenses to be accepted as identification to board planes. The Department of Homeland gave Oregon a final extension in 2021, allowing a still-depleted Oregon DMV staff time to meet the huge demand for compliant cards, which had put over a million Oregonians at risk of not being able to get their licenses converted to a Real ID license before the extension deadline. In July of 2021, Oregon DMV finally started issuing the REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards.
While at least for now we can all breathe a sigh of relief, it will be very important for anyone contemplating flying within the United States and who does not currently have a passport to think about getting their Real Oregon ID license sooner than later, because starting May 3, 2023, without a federally acceptable ID, you will not be able to board an airplane for travel within the U.S. or enter secure federal facilities that require ID for entry.
To get an Oregon REAL ID version of an Oregon credential, you will need to visit a DMV office.
DMV urges people to plan ahead so they have completed their visit and receive their new card in the mail before any travel – at least 3 months ahead. You cannot change to Real ID online – you must apply in person and bring the federally required documents to qualify for Real ID. DMV has online tools to help you determine what documents you must provide if you choose to apply. Visit Oregon.gov/realid to learn more. Federal law requires that identity, age, and residency documents be scanned and stored by DMV, so you need to bring those documents when you apply for a Real ID – even if you have brought them to Oregon DMV before.
You can create a checklist online of the documents you will need to provide if you decide to get a Real ID compliant driver's license or ID card. Some things, like a certified birth certificate, can take time to get if you no longer have one, so knowing ahead of time what documents to bring with you is important.
If you have additional questions about Oregon’s Real ID compliance deadline, you’re welcome to contact our firm at (503) 227-0200 to speak with an attorney or get connected with an industry professional who is able to help.