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Most Oregonians don't have a passport, and officials say the DMV can't issue 1 million new IDs in just three months.

PMG PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - About 5 million travelers pass through the gates of Portland International Airport each year. If you try to fly in late 2020 without a Real ID or passport, your trip through airport security may be delayed by 45 minutes or more. Have a passport? Breathe easy, weary traveler.

But for the roughly 63% of Oregonians lacking one, learning how to obey a new federal rule will mean the difference between soaring the skies — and staying stuck to earth.

Starting Oct. 1, 2020, state residents age 18 or older will not be able to use their current driver's license or state ID to get past airport security guards and board a commercial flight.

The solution could involve a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles for a federally approved Real ID driver's license or identification card. Oregon Department of Transportation officials, however, want residents to skip the queue and apply for a passport or passport card — today — from the U.S. State Department.

"There simply is not enough time for DMV to produce enough Real ID licenses to meet the demand of nearly a million Oregonians," said ODOT spokesman Tom Fuller. "That's why we're asking Oregonians: start the process now."

PMG PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - Just 37% of Oregonians already have a passport, and state officials think another third of the state is expected to apply for a Real ID-compliant state licence or ID card.

Here's what you need to know before you reach the runway:

Can I get a Real ID now? No. The Oregon DMV will only begin offering Real ID on July 6, 2020. That means a three-month rush when about 960,000 residents are expected to clog DMV lines, unless they heed officials' advice and start the eight-week-long passport process now.

Do I have a choice? Yes. "In Oregon, Real ID is an option, it's not a requirement," said DMV Administrator Tom McClellan. But Oregonians who opt for the non-Real ID card won't be able to use it while entering airports or secure federal facilities like military bases or nuclear power plants.

PMG PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - DMV Administrator Tom McClellan spoke to the media about Real ID rules on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at Portland International Airport. 
What documents do I need for a Real ID? If you've applied for state ID since 2008, the process will feel very familiar. Applicants must present proof of identity — like a birth certificate — and proof of a Social Security number, such as a W2 form or paystub. The final step is two printed documents proving address, such as regular U.S. mail, vehicle title, rental agreement or a state ID.

Will other forms of ID be accepted? Yes. In 2020, airport security will also accept military ID cards, tribal IDs, permanent resident cards, passports issued by foreign governments and Transportation Worker Identification Credentials, which are primarily used by maritime workers.

Why is this happening? The 9/11 Commission called for across-the-board ID standards to enhance national security, and Congress passed a law in 2005 establishing those federal rules.

Why am I getting deja vu? Oregon has been granted several extensions to comply with Real ID. In 2009, Oregon lawmakers went so far as to ban state agencies from spending money on the new ID rules, but that prohibition was repealed in 2017. McClellan, the DMV chief, says this deadline is "hard and fast."

What happens if I procrastinate? Locals who show up at airport checkpoints without valid ID will be pulled out of line until agents can verify their identity. That process will take at least 45 minutes. "You're not going to have a good experience going through security," says McClellan. PMG PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - Oregonians travel by air about 6 million times each year. But starting on Oct. 1, 2020, new security rules will take affect at all Oregon airports.

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