Fuson Tag Agency

Title Clerk Sandy Jobe helps a customer in January at Fuson Tag Agency.

Oklahomans will now have an extra year and a half to get the Real ID as the federal government has extended the deadline from this October to May of 2023.

The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that the deadline will be extended to May 3, 2023, after it became evident that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people were not going to make the Oct. 1 deadline.

Now, starting May 3, 2023, a Real ID will be needed to board any domestic or international flight or to enter a government facility.

“So, previously when the deadline was Oct. 1, 2021, if you had an old Oklahoma license that was not a Real ID, then starting Oct. 1 you would have to have had a passport or a military ID, or some other form of Real ID to board domestic flights in the United States,” said Sarah Stewart, a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety. “Now, that will no longer be the case — people can use their regular Oklahoma drivers license to fly until May of 2023.”

With the significant deadline extension, Stewart said people should not rush to get their Real ID.

“We still have a lot of time,” she said. “This means obviously there’s no rush to get in and get a Real ID now,” Stewart said, “and we would continue to recommend that if you don’t need that Real ID — which obviously nobody needs Real ID now until 2023 — they should go ahead and wait until it’s closer to [their] license expiring to come in and do anything.”

Due to the high demand for Real ID In Oklahoma, some residents were forced to wait up to three months in order to get one, officials said. As of Monday, the wait time to get a Real ID at a DPS location is 60 days, Stewart said.

At Norman tag agencies that accept walk-ins, people will line up out the door first thing in the morning.

“We take 40 to 45 people a day,” said Sandy-Jane Jobe, a manager at Fuson Tag Agency in Norman. “If you’re not one of the first five people to the door, then we have them just leave a name and phone number and we call them when it’s time for them to come back.”

With the previous deadline being so close, Jobe said stress was high for both employees and customers. She thinks the deadline extension will calm everyone down a little bit, she said.

“Nobody is rushing in here and freaking out [anymore], and we’ve had quite a few people relieved that we don’t have to get it right now,” she said.

Despite the deadline extension, Oklahomans can still get in line and register for an appointment to get a Real ID by visiting inlineonline.ok.gov.

Reese Gorman covers COVID-19, local politics and elections for The Transcript; reach him at rgorman@normantranscript.com or @reeseg_3.

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Staff Writer

Reese Gorman covers elections, local politics and the COVID-19 pandemic for The Norman Transcript. He started as an intern in May of 2020 and transitioned into his current position as a staff writer in August of 2020.