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REAL ID and the Traveler

What’s happening October 2021?

There’s a big event coming October 1, 2021. Should you care? Answer these questions to find out more:

  • Do you live in Oregon or SW Washington?
  • Will you fly domestically from a commercial airport after October 1, 2021?
  • Do you have a valid passport or passport card?

Airport security changes

The Transportation Security Administration, the TSA, plans a big change on October 1, 2021. TSA will require travelers by air to present a Real ID compliant form of identification to pass airport security.

Most of us present our state-issued driver license as ID. The Oregon DMV can’t start offering the option of a Real ID-compliant card until July 6, 2020. Washingtonians, if you have an Enhanced Driver License you are good to go.

We expect nearly 1 million Oregonians are going to want the Real ID optional card. Even though the Oregon DMV is staffing up, there may not be enough time to meet the demand for Real ID-compliant Oregon driver licenses. 

Answers to the problem

  • If you have a valid passport (or passport card), you are good to fly. Just bring that to the airport as it’s among the TSA-approved forms of identification. You can stop reading here.
  • If you are going to fly after October of 2021, you should think about getting a passport card. It’s cheaper than a full passport book ($65 vs. $145 - and if you already have a passport, the card is only $30). You can apply at one of the over 75 acceptance centers in Oregon, the requirements are similar to that of an Oregon Real ID compliant card (proof of citizenship – like a birth certificate, passport photo, photocopy of your driver license), and it only takes about four to six weeks.
  • The best thing is that you can get that passport card now! No need to wait until July of 2020.

Oregon Background on Real ID

2005: The U.S. Congress passed the Real ID Act

2009: The Oregon Legislature passed SB536 prohibiting the state from spending any money to become REAL ID compliant unless (a) the federal government pays for it, and (b) particular privacy requirements were met.

2017: Oregon adopted SB 374, which repealed SB 536 (2009) and directed ODOT-DMV to begin offering customers the option of REAL ID compliant driver licenses and ID Cards beginning July 2020.

Until the 2017 session, Oregon law prohibited DMV from spending any money toward Real ID Act compliance. Like many other states, Oregon had passed such a law because of concerns about (a) privacy/security of information and (b) cost. Once it became clear the federal government was not going to back down from the requirements, in the 2017 session Oregon repealed the prohibition and instead directed DMV to begin offering customers the option of Real ID compliant cards. At that point, DMV was in the middle of a major computer system replacement, so the earliest DMV can begin meeting all those federal requirements is July 2020 – the same date we “go live” with the driver licensing portion of that computer system overhaul project.

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