State begins issuing REAL ID licenses

Johnathan Hettinger
Yellowstone Newspapers
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Article Image Alt Text

Photo courtesy of Montana Department of Justice
Shown is an example of the Montana REAL ID driver’s license, which the Motor Vehicle Division started issuing this week. The license has a gold star in the upper right corner. 

Montana residents wishing to fly domestically after Oct. 1, 2020, will need to get a new driver’s license or identification card.

This week, the Montana Motor Vehicle Division started issuing the “REAL ID” card, a new higher security form of identification required by federal law.

Starting Oct. 1, 2020, the REAL ID will be required for residents to board domestic flights or enter federal facilities that require identification. A valid U.S. passport, military ID or other federal identification can be used after Oct. 1, 2020.

The state of Montana is currently operating under an exemption that allows current driver’s licenses and identification cards to be accepted until then. Children under 18 do not need a REAL ID in order to fly.

A REAL ID will cost $50 for residents who are outside of their regular license renewal period. Otherwise, it is an additional $25. When applying for a new driver’s license or ID card, residents must specifically ask for a REAL ID.

In order to get a REAL ID, residents must make an appointment with the Montana Motor Vehicle Division. At the appointment, residents must complete an application; get a photograph taken; and present documents to prove name, date of birth, Social Security number, proof of address and residency status. 

Those documents are then scanned by MVD staff, who issue a temporary ID. Then, a permanent ID is mailed to their home address.

A REAL ID has a gold star in the upper right-hand corner, while regular licenses say “Not for Federal Identification Purposes.”

More information on REAL IDs is available at Frequently asked questions are online at 




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