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Appointments and a mask are now required in order to visit an Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles field office.

ODOT PHOTO: GREG WESTERGAARD  - Customers keep six feet of distance while awaiting service at an Oregon DMV field office. There is no line at the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles. But don't expect to waltz right in.

Since the start of the global pandemic, DMV services are by appointment only.

The next available time slot? October.

"We have almost three months of backlog — many magnitudes more than anything we've ever experienced before," said DMV spokesman David House. "It's going to take us months and months to catch up."

VIA ODOT - The five-sided star on the right-hand corner of this sample Oregon driver license indicates that the card is compliant with the Real ID Act of 2005. As of Monday, Aug. 3, Oregon became officially compliant with the Real ID Act of 2005, a federal law that requires beefed-up forms of identification for adults to pass through airport security for domestic flights.

When the law finally kicks in on Oct. 1, 2021, Oregon travelers won't be able to board commercial flights or enter other secure facilities using their old driver's license or state ID card, though a passport will still do the trick.

"If you never fly or go to a military base or nuclear power plant, it doesn't affect you at all," House said.

Visually speaking, the only indicator that a driver's license is Real ID compliant is the star in the upper right-hand corner, and the documents required to get one are similar to the old process. But for the first time, the DMV now is required to scan and store copies of that documentation for 10 years.

There's also an additional cost. Real ID requires a $30 fee in addition to the $40 fee already necessary to renew licensure for eight years.

"The Oregon Constitution requires all highway fund money to go into highways," House said, "so any program that doesn't go into the roads, it has to be self-funded."

An ID not compliant with Real ID also remains available.

Other changes

Masks are now required at all DMV locations, and greeters are stationed at each field office to ensure visitors are aware of social distancing rules and have an appointment. All but four DMV offices — in Madras, Cottage Grove, Heppner and Condon — have reopened.

But the DMV has not yet renewed driving tests that require a proctor to sit shoulder to shoulder with the applicant, pending CDC guidance. Such tests currently are available from third-party businesses, however, often with a lengthy wait.

Knowledge tests, vision screenings and issuance of IDs and licenses all require an in-person visit, but simple change of address forms and other business can be conducted online, by phone or mail. Only Vehicle Identification Number inspections, required for cars new to Oregon, can be performed without an appointment at about 40 of the state's 60 field offices.

Given the backlog, police across Oregon will not penalize drivers with a recently-expired ID through the end of the year.

"We can't tell other states what to do," House said.

ODOT PHOTO: GREG WESTERGAARD  - Masks and other social distancing procedures are now in effect at all Oregon DMV offices.

Here's what you'll need to receive a Real ID:

• Proof of identity and lawful status, such as an unexpired passport or birth certificate.

• Proof of Social Security number, such as a Social Security card, W2 form or paystub.

• Two documents showing proof of address, such as a bank statement, health benefits card, utility bill, certified mail or a vehicle registration card.

Find more information at Oregon.gov/realid


Zane Sparling
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