REAL ID Act goes into effect October 1st
HELENA – Starting October 1 of this year, Montana residents will need to get a Montana REAL ID to fly domestically or access a federal building.  

If you choose not to get one, the Transportation Security Administration does accept a variety of identity documents including a valid U.S. passport, U.S passport card, Military ID, or other federally approved identification. You may continue to use this as your form of identification after October 1, 2020, for federal purposes. 

The only major difference between the ID’s is a gold star in the upper right-hand corner, which helps TSA quickly identify the card. Sarah Garcia, the Motor Vehicle Division Administrator, says it’s important not to wait until the last minute to get one because appointments are filling up.  

“I would encourage people to not only make that appointment well in advance of when they want to come in and get that driver's license or ID card,” Garcia says. “I would also encourage them to take a good look at our website and be informed on what documents they need to bring in. To make sure they have given themselves enough time to obtain those documents.” 

You can set your appointment by clicking here and see all the appropriate documentation you will need to bring with you to the appointment. Garcia says it is roughly $60 to get a REAL ID and replace your driver’s license if you are not in the renewal window.  

The Montana Department of Justice says, the REAL ID creates a standard across the United States to ensure individuals can prove they are legally authorized in the US. 

“The idea with this REAL ID Act is that it would make our travelers and those that have driver's licenses in their respective states more secure because the documents would be verified on a different level,” Garcia says. 

You are not required to get a REAL ID, and if you choose not to you are still allowed to vote, apply for federal or state benefits and drive. You will need a REAL ID to access a federal facility, including military bases. 

If you have any other questions or would like to find out more information about the REAL ID, you can click here.

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