Montana will start issuing identification cards that comply with the federal REAL ID Act in January. A new state website is available now for people who want to book an appointment to get the federally approved ID card.
Starting in October 2020, a regular Montana state drivers license will no longer be adequate identification to board flights within the United States or gain access to federal facilities like military bases.
Levi Worts, with the state Motor Vehicle Division, says once that deadline arrives Montanans will either have to buy a REAL ID, or use alternative forms of identification for those activities.
“Versions of that are passports, passport card, military ID, federally recognized Tribal IDs fall under that category as well,” Worts says.
Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005 following the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that there be federally standardized identification cards to increase national security.
Some Montana policy makers and politicians objected to the law saying it infringes on privacy rights.
During the 2017 legislative session, state lawmakers passed a bill giving residents the option to buy a driver’s license or an identification card that complies with the federal anti-terrorism law.
REAL IDs will look much like a standard Montana state drivers license, although a gold star in the upper right corner will indicate it is federally recognized. The purchase of a REAL ID in Montana is not mandatory and costs between $25 and $50.