Fort Sill Will Require Real ID for Visitors in 2023
The saga that has been the Oklahoma Real ID rollout is soon coming to an end. The current deadline is May 3, 2023, for all travelers in the US to possess a gold star ID. Even though it's a song and dance we've done before, it seems this deadline isn't moving again according to sources.
After May 3, 2023, if you're planning on flying domestically, you're expected to have one. If you plan on visiting any military installation in America, same/same including Fort Sill. At that point, you won't be able to visit post without that little gold star on your driver's license... unless they'll accept passports as TSA does.
So, what is Real ID and why is it important? It's complicated.
The point of Real ID is to have a nationwide standardized ID. When I asked our local tag office workers about it, there is no difference in the personal identification information on the regular Oklahoma driver's license when compared to a certified Real ID... but Oklahoma has to conform to the standards set by congress all the same.
It's understandably agitating to Oklahoma drivers since an Oklahoma ID requires fingerprints and birth certificates to obtain already... same as the Real ID with the exception of a piece of mail to confirm your address.
When I asked "Why?" I was told other states haven't ever had comprehensive identification information on their IDs in the past... The example given was California. Apparently, that sort of official and confirmed information hasn't been required to obtain a California driver's license in the past, so they say...
What does that mean for Fort Sill and every other military installation in Oklahoma and America? You're going to need a Real ID to get your visitor's pass when the deadline comes.
Is it a bummer? Sure, but the idea I don't have to renew my license for eight years makes up the difference.
What to expect? Since I'm a male, I only had to provide two government IDs - my regular driver's license and my Oklahoma carry permit to confirm my address plus my birth certificate and social security number to confirm I am who I say I am. That's literally all it took to get my Real ID.
I have heard it a more difficult process for women. When my sister got her Real ID, she had to provide documentation to account for her several last name changes over the years. She got her ID, but it was a process... This was when Real ID first rolled out, so I don't know if her process is still the standard process or not. Your mileage may vary.
Where do you get your Real ID? At the tag agency. Took me about twelve minutes and the agency staff was cool enough to let me make faces for my license picture. It's embarrassing and hilarious.
I kept my regular driver's license while waiting on the Real ID to be mailed. When it came after about three weeks, it was hard not to notice how cheap and flimsy it is. Honestly, it feels like I could photoshop it at home and have it printed on cheap materials at Staples, but that's government work for you.
Do you "need" a Real ID? Maybe... It's optional, and at this time they're only to be required for flying domestically in the US, entering a military installation, federal building, or nuclear power plant. If you have no plans for any of that, there's really no need... yet.
Like most things the government touches, what isn't required now will be sooner or later. The process isn't as irritating as it was during the first rollout, the price difference in negligible, you might as well bite the proverbial bullet when the need for a new ID arises.
All the same, you might invest in a package of gold stars and just Real ID your own license.
That's hyperbole and probably extremely illegal in the grand scheme of faking federal documents... but all this hype over a literal gold star is why Oklahoma has held out for so long. We've apparently always had "Real IDs," we've just entered a time in American history that we have to prove it with a literal star.
Again, it's pretty easy to obtain a Real ID from your current Oklahoma ID, just pop into your local tag agency and get it done. Click here to see what you'll need to take with you.