By Steve Coulter
Is your driver’s license set to expire soon? Did you know most tag agencies are booked up for months and only taking appointments?
Beginning October 1, 2021, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID compliant driver’s license, or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States.
Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”
The Act and implementing regulations establish minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibit federal agencies, like TSA, from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards for official purposes, such as getting through the airport security checkpoint to board a plane.
Those required changes are causing a big backlog at local tag agencies. You don’t walk in and just get a driver’s license anymore.
“From our standpoint, it’s been a tremendous headache. We have people leave every day that are mad. It’s totally beyond our control. There’s nothing we can do. We can only get about 14 licenses a day done on average. That doesn’t come close to filling the need of the people. Before we could do one hundred licenses in a day,” said Mustang Tag Owner Boone Vontungeln.
The REAL ID is the new style license required. It looks identical to the old license with one exception. The REAL ID has a gold star in the upper corner. And getting one requires a lot of identification documents.
“You have to have a birth certificate or pass port. Every legal name change document and social security card. And then you also have to have two documents that prove your residency. Two documents of your current name and current physical address. Not a P.O. Box. It has to be a physical address,” said Mustang Tag Office Manager Tana Steinbruck.
It currently takes about twenty minutes to process a REAL ID and appointments are going fast.
“Most tag agencies are doing appointments now. We are currently booked until the end of June. We are no longer taking appointments until we get a little closer to that time,” said Steinbruck.
Mustang Tag says about seventy five percent of calls are people with licenses that are about to expire soon.
“We tell them to check around with other tag agencies or you can also renew online through the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety website,” said Steinbruck.
“How would you like to be a sixteen year old that just passed your driving test and can’t get a license?” Said Vontungeln.
Mustang Tag says the best thing you can do is plan ahead and have all the correct documents ready.
“A lot of people come in and they want us to take it off their phone. We can’t take stuff off the phone. We have to have physical copies. Make sure you have all the documents required and have them ready when you come in. Have a lot of patience and understanding,” said Steinbruck.
Mustang Tag says the new process to get a drivers license is a bad situation and simply out of their control. The new process and paperwork just takes a lot more time.
“I hate for people to think that we’re not sympathetic to what’s going on,” said Vontungeln.