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Oregon DMV Shares Alternatives Ahead Of Real ID Licensing Launch

Oregon driver license

Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles officials have launched a yearlong campaign aimed at getting Oregonians to think twice next year about getting a new driver’s license that meets the standards of the federal Real ID law.

DMV spokesman David House said that could create a crush of people seeking the new license when it becomes available.

As a result, House said, the agency is launching an effort to explain to Oregonians that, in many cases, they don’t have to worry about getting a Real ID.

“You may already have what you need,” House said.  “You may not need to do anything. Especially if you’d like to avoid those long lines next year.”

That’s because airport screeners also accept passports and some other forms of federal ID, such as Global Entry cards issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

Besides at the airports, most Oregonians can continue to use their existing licenses for everyday activities – whether stopped for speeding by a police officer or confirming one’s identity while cashing a check.

However, secure federal facilities such as a military bases won’t accept non-Real ID licenses.  DMV officials said people should check with the specific facility they plan to visit to see if they will accept passports or other forms of federal ID.

The Oregon DMV has set up a webpage to help people figure out if they should get a new license.

Starting next July, Oregon will offer people two driver license options, the Real ID version and a standard license that doesn’t require applicants to prove they are legally in the country. 

House said his agency plans to beef up staff at DMV offices around the state to handle the anticipated increase in demand.  But he said Oregonians might want to consider applying for a passport – or renewing their existing one if it's near expiration – as an easier option than getting a Real ID license.

Congress passed the Real ID act in 2005 as a response to calls for tighter identification requirements in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001.

Copyright 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting

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Jeff Mapes is a senior political reporter at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Previously, Jeff covered state and national politics for The Oregonian for nearly 32 years. He has covered numerous presidential, congressional, gubernatorial and ballot measure campaigns, as well as many sessions of the Legislature, stretching back to 1985. Jeff graduated from San Jose State University with a B.A. in journalism.