(Update: adding video, new info, comments by Oregon DMV official, Bend DMV customer)
Oct. 1 deadline moved to May 2023 due to DMV backlog during pandemic
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Department of Motor Vehicles continues to see a backlog of appointments in Oregon, and across the country. As a result, the Department of Homeland Security has decided to extend the deadline for the Real ID once again.
The deadline had already been postponed once in the past, from Oct. 1, 2020 to Oct. 1, 2021. However, this latest announcement Tuesday pushes the it back 19 more months, to May 3, 2023.
“That's two years away, but I would recommend that people really think about it," said David House, Oregon DMV’s public information officer. "What's the best option for you? If your license is expiring in the next year or two and you're traveling by air, consider getting it."
House said since the DMV had to shut down completely for 11 weeks last spring, it's still trying to catch up on appointments.
He told NewsChannel 21 even if they operated at double-capacity statewide, it would take about three months to meet the demand.
Eric Lui, a Bend resident who went to the northside DMV on Tuesday to get his Real ID, experienced the appointment struggle first-hand.
“Took me four months to get my appointment, because that was the earliest date that they had,” he told NewsChannel 21.
Lui is now one of only 25% of people nationwide who have the Real ID right now.
"There's no way this country could get the other 75% Real ID in six months, or even in two years,” House said. “But not everyone needs it."
Once the Real ID requirement goes into effect, your regular Oregon ID or driver license will not be accepted for domestic flights.
Even if you don't have it by then, however, you'll still be able to travel in the United States. You would just need a passport or a military ID, for example. You can view the full list of acceptable IDs here.
As for the stockpiling of appointments, House said most people in Oregon will be able to renew their license or ID online, starting Wednesday, May 5.
“The more people who renew online – and that could be thousands eligible each month -- the more people who do that, it frees up appointment slots for people who must go to the DMV,” House said.
Find out what the Real ID requirements are here.