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A TSA worker checks an identification card at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle.

PENDLETON — Oregonians have little less than a year to continue using their state-issued driver’s licenses or identification cards for domestic flights. Come Oct. 1, 2020, they will need to show passports or driver’s licenses or other identification that meet the standards of the Real ID Act.

The Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division is urging residents to have their passports at the ready.

The Real ID Act of 2005 came out of a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission to establish federal security standards for driver’s licenses and other forms of identification. According to the Department of Homeland Security, 47 states have complied with the law while New Jersey, Oklahoma and Oregon have extensions to become compliant.

Tom McClellan, administrator of the Oregon DMV, during a press conference Tuesday at the Port of Portland said the 2020 deadline is “hard and fast,” and the agency is moving as fast as it can to meet it. The DMV set the weekend of July 4 to overhaul its computers systems to meet Real ID requirements.

“It’s absolutely as soon as we could have it ready to go is July 6 of next year,” McClellan said.

Going with the Real ID option on driver’s licenses and the like could cost an extra $20, and Oregon would become the last state to provide the options with less than three months before the federal Transportation Security Administration stops accepting the state’s regular forms of identification. Tom Fuller, Oregon Department of Transportation communications manager, told reporters present that’s “not enough time for DMV to produce enough Real ID licenses to meet the demand of nearly a million Oregonians who are going to want one and who will need one to board a commercial flight.”

But a passport, McClellan said, “is a definite way to get through security at the airport.”

Oregon has more than 75 centers that handle passport applications, including most county clerk offices. Steve Churchill, public records officer for Umatilla County, said getting a passport takes some planning, time and money.

“They have to fill out an application and have to provide proof of citizenship,” he said, such as certified copies of a birth or naturalization certificate.

“There’s lots of different scenarios,” he said, from renewing an old passport to updating a name change, “so we have to ask a lot of questions based on which fits that person.”

Juveniles have to renew passports every five years and adults every 10. Passport books cost $80 for juveniles — 15 or younger — and $110 for adults, and passport cards are $15 for juveniles and $30 for adults. The cards are good for land or sea travel into Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda.

“A lot of our locals who go home for Christmas to Mexico or truckers who go across the border into Canada quite a bit tend to have those cards,” Churchill said.

And some folks, including Churchill, have both. That combo costs $140 for adults and $95 for juveniles. The U.S. State Department only accepts checks or money orders, Churchill said, no credit or debit cards.

Passports require photos. Umatilla County charges $13 for that. The State Department also allows the county and other sites to charge a $35 fee for facilitating the process. Churchill said the county accepts multiple forms of payment.

The routine waiting period for a passport from the date of application is six weeks. There is an “expedited service” option of three weeks for an extra $60. And people dealing with a life-or-death emergency can obtain a passport within three days. Churchill said for locals that means going to the passport agency in Seattle.

Churchill said the county this time of year sees a bump in people wanting passports for Christmas travel. The state officials Tuesday urged Oregonians to move now to obtain passports rather than wait in long lines next summer at one of Oregon’s 60 DMV offices.

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(2) comments

James Woolsey

This is a failure of our government to do it's job. As has been the case over and over, our government representatives, instead of doing the nuts and bolts of their jobs, have spent their time pandering to the politically correct nonsense of the extreme liberals.

Independent Thinker

Oregon should have done this years ago instead of waiting for the last moment. Terrible !!

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