During the 2017 Legislative Session, Montana’s legislature and governor tasked the Motor Vehicle Division with creating an optional driver license that complies with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. MVD Administrator Sarah Garcia says they have been working on that for the past 18 to 20 months.

“We have been getting ready so that we could issue those compliant cards, which started on January 1 this year,’ Garcia said. ‘With that, we were able to submit all of our documentations to the Department of Homeland Security to request that we be listed as complaint on that map. That happened late last week and they did certify us. Now that we have received that news, we are listed as a compliant state.”

Federal agencies and the Transportation Security Administration will continue to accept all valid Montana driver licenses and ID cards to board domestic commercial flights and access secure federal facilities until October 1, 2020. After that, only Montana licenses and ID cards that are REAL ID compliant will be accepted.

“One thing I would like to stress is that if you do choose that option to get the REAL ID, plan accordingly and don’t wait until the last minute,” Garcia said. “For example, if you have that flight to Grandma’s house out in Ohio, you’re going to want to have one in your wallet long before that deadline of October 1, 2020.”

According to Garcia, they acquired the necessary equipment to implement REAL ID, hired and trained new staff, and can now give Montanans the information they need to decide if a REAL ID license or ID is right for them. Folks can visit mtrealid.com for more information.