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Come fall, it will take Real ID to board a plane, and clerk's office feels the rush

The deadline for becoming Real ID compliant for airline travel is coming soon and causing a sudden surge of passport requests as an alternative.

According to an announcement released by the Oregon Secretary of State's Office, on Oct. 1, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) begins requiring a new type of identification to board a commercial aircraft. The new ID must be compliant with something called the Real ID Act.

"It's designed to keep us safer in the air, but if you try to board an aircraft using your current Oregon driver license, starting in October, it won't work," the announcement states. "That's because the current Oregon driver license is not Real ID compliant."

The Oregon DMV will begin offering a Real ID option on July 6, but to fulfill the demand of nearly 1 million Oregonians who will want the Real ID option, the DMV would have to issue 32 licenses a second every business day from July to October.

"That's just not possible," the Secretary of State's Office said.

The announcement went on state that those who don't have a Real ID compliant form of ID at the airport will be put through an alternate identity verification process by TSA that could take an hour or more, causing people to potentially miss their flight.

But the Secretary of State's Office says there is an answer for Oregonians — obtaining and using a passport or passport card.

"The cost of getting a new passport card is roughly equal to that of getting a replacement license with the Real ID option," the office states, "and you can apply now at one of over 76 acceptance sites across Oregon."

Since this announcement was released to the public, the Crook County's Clerk's Office has seen a significant increase in passport requests.

"We received many phone calls and folks coming in, wanting to apply," said County Clerk Cheryl Seely. "They weren't really sure if they wanted the book or the card or didn't understand the whole Real ID concept. They just wanted more information."

Seely wants the public to know that the Clerk's Office is a passport acceptance office and they do accept applications.

"We have the forms for them to fill out if they have never had a passport before. If their passport has been expired for more than five years, they are basically starting over with a form," Seely explained. "If their passport is still valid and getting close to expired or they have been expired less than five years, they can use a renewal form and we have that form as well." Seely went on to clarify that the TSA will only require the passport card for flights that do not leave the U.S., however, any international flights will require the book.

"The first-time folks will have to bring their completed forms back in, filled out with black ink, passport pictures, proof of citizenship, current photo ID and a check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of State," Seely continued, adding that the Clerk's Office will charge a $35 application fee.

The County Clerk's Office is currently being told that the processing time for passports is about six to eight weeks, but the escalating volume of requests could make that wait longer. This past Friday, the local office handled 15 requests when one or two a day is more common.

"We anticipate things being very, very busy," Seely said. "It has been really busy the last couple of days."

Sidebar

To find out more about Real ID, visit www.oregon.gov/realid.


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