REAL QUESTIONS
REAL ANSWERS

REAL ID FAQs

Yes! The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) granted Montana an extension until June 1st, 2019.

MVD has until June 1st, 2019 to submit Montana’s full compliance to REAL ID packet. MVD will submit the full compliance packet to DHS shortly after Montana begins issuing REAL ID compliant credentials.

Once DHS approves our full compliance packet, ALL Montana driver license and ID cards will still be accepted as identification for domestic, commercial flights and as identification to access federal facilities until October, 2020.

A Montana credential is either a driver license or identification (ID) card issued by the Montana Motor Vehicle Division.

The REAL ID Act is a federal law about the security, authentication, and issuance for state driver licenses and ID cards. Congress enacted this law based on a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission.

You can find answers to many of your questions in these FAQs.  You can also find out more information at the Department of Homeland Security website and the Transportation Security Administration website.

It is your choice to get a REAL ID credential or not.  If you fly domestically and simply want the convenience of carrying your driver license or ID card to board your flights or if you do not have another TSA approved alternative form of identification, you may want to obtain a REAL ID so your travel plans are not affected.

The decision to get a REAL ID credential is completely up to you.  It is not required for any other reason than to allow you to continue to fly domestically and access certain federal facilities after October 1, 2020.  For example, you may decide to not get a REAL ID if you already have a passport or another TSA approved alternative form of identification.

Yes. You can still vote, apply for federal or state benefits, and drive. Furthermore you can enter Federal facilities that do not require a person to present identification, register to vote, be licensed to drive in Montana, obtain a Montana ID card, participate in law enforcement proceedings or investigations, and access health or life preserving services (including hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement, or constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant’s access to court proceedings).

There is not a list of these locations. However, you do not need a REAL ID compliant credential when entering any facility that does not require you to present identification or to access constitutionally protected activities—including a defendant’s access to court proceedings.

You should check with the federal facility you want to enter to find out if you need a REAL ID credential.

No. The federal government does not have a federal database storing REAL ID information. We securely store your REAL ID information with your driving record information.

We will issue REAL ID credentials starting January, 2019.

October 1, 2020.  By then, you must have a REAL ID credential, or a TSA approved alternative form of identification, to fly within the U.S. or to access certain federal facilities or nuclear power plants.

Not yet. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) granted Montana an extension for REAL ID implementation until June 1st, 2019.

MVD has until June 1st, 2019 to submit Montana’s full compliance to REAL ID packet. MVD will submit the full compliance packet to DHS shortly after Montana begins issuing REAL ID compliant credentials.

Once our compliance packet is accepted by DHS, ALL Montana driver license and ID cards will be accepted as identification for domestic, commercial flights and to access federal facilities until October, 2020.

You can find Montana’s status at the DHS website.

No. There is no need to rush into a driver license station in January 2019. Valid Montana driver license/ID cards will be accepted by TSA to board a domestic flight and by federal agents to enter secure federal facilities until October 1, 2020.  Additionally, if you have a valid U.S. passport or 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.

Beginning October 1, 2020, you will need a REAL ID compliant driver license, identification card or an acceptable alternative form of identification as approved by TSA https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification, to board domestic commercial flights or enter a federal facility without a secondary form of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approved identification.

The Montana Legislature voted to give Montanans the option of getting a REAL ID credential, so citizens can fly domestically or to access certain federal facilities after October 1, 2020.

No.  You are not required to have a REAL ID driver license to drive.  You can continue to use Montana’s traditional driver license to drive.

In January 2019, you can get a REAL ID credential at these driver license stations:

Billings
Bozeman
Butte
Cut Bank
Deer Lodge
Dillon
Eureka
Glasgow
Glendive

Great Falls
Havre
Helena
Kalispell
Lewistown
Libby
Livingston
Miles City
Missoula

Plentywood
Polson
Red Lodge
Sidney
Stevensville
Superior
Thompson Falls
Wolf Point

You can view all our REAL ID location on our custom Google map and view business hours, additional info, and get directions to each station through Google Maps.

Our goal is to issue REAL ID credentials at all driver license stations; however, we are still searching for a scanner that will work for our travel stations since examiners bring all equipment with them to these locations. We are continuing to research solutions, and will keep you updated.

You can find the current and comprehensive list of all acceptable alternative documents on TSA’s website.

You may also contact your airline for specific questions about identification requirements for traveling.

You must:

  • Make an appointment
  • Appear in person
  • Complete an application
  • Get your photograph taken
  • Present documents to prove:
    • Your name and date of birth
    • Your social security number
    • You are a Montana resident
    • You are authorized to be in the United States
  • Have your documents scanned by MVD staff

Yes. You must make an appointment at one of the driver license stations issuing REAL ID credentials.

There are only a few types of documents that are accepted.  You may find a complete checklist of the documents here.

We scan your documents and securely store them along with the other information that is part of  your driving record.

No, we scan a copy and return the originals to you.

Yes.  On the upper right-hand corner:

  • A REAL ID credential has a gold star
  • A non-REAL ID credential has the words “Not for Federal Identification Purposes.”

You can see the physical difference here.

These words mean that a credential is not REAL ID compliant.

The only difference is your ability to fly domestically, to access certain federal facilities or nuclear power plants.  Other than that, a non-REAL ID credential works just like your current driver license or ID card.

To see the physical difference click here.

Paper credentials are not REAL ID compliant.  After October 1, 2020, you will not be able to fly domestically with a paper credential.

If you are getting a credential for the first time, the cost an additional $50.00.  For example, you are getting your first driver license or are transferring from another state.

If you have a current Montana credential and you are within 6 months before your expiration date or less than 3 months after your expiration date, it will cost an additional $25.00.

If you have a current Montana credential and you are outside of the renewal period, it will cost you an additional $50.00.

You can use our chat bot to determine the total amount you will pay for a REAL ID compliant card based on your expiration date, your age, and other factors here.

If it is a driver license, you can get a replacement driver license either in person or by mail.  You must pay an additional $25.00 REAL ID fee. When we issue you a replacement REAL ID credential, we will cancel your lost driver license.

If it is an identification card, you must appear in person at a driver license station and apply for a new identification card.  You must pay an additional $25.00 REAL ID fee.

Only one. You may have one REAL ID driver license or one REAL ID identification card at one time.

No. You must choose between a REAL ID driver license or a REAL ID identification card.

Yes. The following combinations are allowed:

REAL ID driver license and a non-REAL ID identification card

Non-REAL ID driver license and a REAL ID identification card

Non-REAL ID driver license, Non-REAL ID identification card, REAL ID identification card.

Yes. If you qualify, you may have as many identification cards as you pay for. However, you may have only one REAL ID identification card at a time.

Yes. Montana produces secure credentials that deter fraud and protect the identities of our citizens.

Some states issue enhanced driver licenses (EDLs) as an alternative for entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean by land or a sea port.  An EDL is a chipped credential that can access an individual’s biographic and biometric data.

No. The Montana Legislature has not authorized MVD to issue enhanced driver licenses. The requirements are more stringent than issuing a REAL ID compliant credential.

According to TSA, children under 18 do not need to give any identification when traveling with a companion.  You must contact your airline for specific identification questions for travelers under 18.

When REAL ID compliant licenses and identification cards are available, your initial application for a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or identification card must be done in person at a driver license station. You will not be able to use the online renewal service.

Yes. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you will be able to renew an already issued REAL ID driver license by mail or online as long as you have not changed your name, date of birth (for example, in the case of adoption), or social security number (for example, the Social Security Administration issued you a new number because of fraud).

You will need to contact the appropriate agency to get a certified copy of an accepted identity document.

No. REAL ID is a national set of standards, not a national identification card.  REAL ID does not create a federal database of customer information. Each jurisdiction continues to issue its own unique licenses and identification cards, maintains its own records, and controls who gets access to those records and under what circumstances. The purpose of REAL ID is to make our identity documents more consistent and secure.

No. We cannot issue any credential (REAL ID or non-REAL ID) to a person who has not proven they are authorized to be in the United States.

You will receive a non-REAL ID credential with the words “Not for Federal Identification Purposes” displayed in the upper right corner. This card cannot be used to board domestic flights or visit military bases or secure federal facilities beginning October 1, 2020. Check with the federal facility/military base before you visit to verify their identification requirements.

No. An e-DL is a driver license that has a chip embedded into it and it can be used to cross into Canada. Montana does not issue e-DL’s.

A certified document has an original seal, either raised or stamped, by the agency that the document was issued from. This is NOT the same as a document being notarized.

Federal law does not allow a military or tribal ID to be used as a step 1 document. However, they may be used as an alternative document, which you can see on TSA’s Website.

No. You do not need to do anything. Your current license is still valid, even if it does not have the words, “Not for Federal identification Purpose” on it.

connect with us

MVD Headquarters is located at 302 N Roberts, Helena, MT 59620. This location does not issue driver licenses or ID cards.

Phone:  (406) 444-3933

Mail:
Motor Vehicle Division
PO Box 201430
Helena, MT
59620-1430