New laws requiring legal presence in the United States is causing delays at the drivers license exam office, according to some upset residents.
Several Oklahoma drivers attempting to renew their expired license this week were surprised to learn they didn't have adequate documentation to obtain a new license.
“This is ridiculous,” said one woman, whose license had expired in December. “I had no idea I would need all of these documents just to get my license.”
Pursuant to HB 1804, all applicants must present specific documented proof of legal presence in the United States.
The new law will not affect current Oklahoma drivers license holders wishing to renew their license, unless their license has expired.
Current drivers license holders need only present their current Oklahoma driver's license and a second form of identification, such as passport or social security card, to the local tag office in order to renew their drivers license.
However, first-time applicants, new residents, anyone who is applying for an upgrade of license class or anyone whose license has expired must first visit the driver exam office and provide two forms of proof showing legal residency in the U.S.
Accepted primary documentation includes an original birth certificate or certified birth certificate, a passport, an Oklahoma identification card issued by the Department of Public Safety on or after Nov. 1, 2007.
Secondary proof of identification for any person may be one of the following: any primary identification not used as a primary identification; photo identification card issued by an Oklahoma public, private or parochial secondary school, institution of higher education or technology center; Oklahoma gun permit; pilot license; Oklahoma lifetime hunting or fishing license; social security card; health insurance card; marriage certificate; divorce judgement; motor vehicle registration; property deed; military card or Indian card.
Several other forms of identification will be accepted as secondary proof.
“I've been back and forth between the drivers exam office and the tag office just to get my license,” said one man. “I had to dig around to find two forms of identification.”
The new requirements are designed to safeguard Oklahoma residents, according to legislators.
Legislators determined that requiring two forms of identification could cut down on driver license fraud. This is part of an effort to prevent identity theft.
“For years, all you had to do to renew your license was submit your old license,” said Karen Gentry, director of Driver License Testing.
The new law is not unlike a proposal by the Department of Homeland Security geared at insuring that all immigrants are here legally.
At a mid-day conference Friday, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff vowed to counteract the naysayers and defend what he called a “more secure form of identification that will serve both our homeland security and our individual concerns about personal privacy.”
The proposal is in the form of a Real ID program in place by 2013. Under this program, Americans will be required to present Real ID-compliant identification documents—or risk facing “inconveniences” at airports and federal buildings—by 2017.
In a matter-of-fact outline of the final rules governing the controversial Real ID program presented Friday, Chertoff stated that only three categories of people need be “disappointed” by the forthcoming identification cards — terrorists, illegal immigrants and con-men.
The final rule dictates that by the end of 2009, states will have to complete certain checks on all residents who apply for driver's licenses, such as verifying against Homeland Security databases that the cardholders have legal immigration status and ensuring that the Social Security number provided matches with Social Security Administration records. States will also have to conduct background checks on motor vehicles employees “to ensure licenses are not issued by corrupt insiders.”
By May 11, 2011, states are expected to have methods in place to verify that the identity documents provided by driver's license applicants, such as birth certificates, are valid. They'll also be expected to start issuing Real ID-compliant licenses by then, if not sooner.
By Dec. 1, 2014, all Americans under the age of 50 will be expected to present Real ID-compliant license when boarding airplanes and entering federal buildings. Exactly three years later, all Americans, regardless of age, will have to meet those requirements.
Opponents of the Real ID plan, including Oklahoma legislators, said the deadline extensions do nothing to change their view that the requirements are unworkable.