Montana Now REAL ID Compliant

Apr 23, 2019

Montana is now compliant with federal drivers’ license rules, 14 years after they passed.

Starting October 1, 2020, Montanans flying between states will either need to present a REAL ID- compliant license or a passport.

Montana was one of the states to resist the REAL ID Act of 2005, which aimed to improve security in the years following 9/11.

Montana Motor Vehicle Division Administrator Sarah Garcia explains some of the hesitancy.

“People were afraid maybe that there would be federal overreach or that their personal information would be added to some sort of database at the federal level,” said Garcia. “Which is completely untrue.”

Montana agreed to meet requirements bit by bit.

In 2017, the Montana Legislature passed a bill to create an optional driver's license that is REAL ID-compliant. It was that or endanger Montanans’ ability to travel domestically.

In a letter last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) informed the state’s Motor Vehicle Division it is now in full compliance.

Residents renewing their licenses can choose the new ID with a star in the top right corner or the old ID with the stamp "Not for federal identification."