REAL ID license applications now available to Montana drivers

Montana drivers can now apply for REAL ID drivers licenses at Montana Motor Vehicle Division offices across the state.

The Montana MVD began offering REAL ID drivers licenses to the public on Monday, January 7.

The division says the main deadline the public needs to know about concerning the IDs is October 1, 2020. Once that deadline passes, driver’s licenses that aren’t REAL IDs won’t be considered an acceptable form of ID when boarding a plane. REAL ID licenses have a gold star in the corner, and licenses that are not REAL IDs will say “not for federal identification” on them instead.

REAL IDs will also be required to go to certain federal facilities and nuclear power plants. Montana Driver Services bureau chief Michele Snowberger says people who know they won’t need to access such facilities can choose not to get a REAL ID. She says the choice to get a REAL ID is a personal one, and some people are choosing different ID options.

“The most common reason would be, hey, I already have an alternative form of identification that’s going to allow me to do the things that I need to do,” Snowberger said.

Snowberger says U.S. passports, military IDs, and federally recognized tribal IDs can all be used as acceptable forms of identification when flying domestically.

Drivers who apply for REAL IDs in Montana will pay an extra charge in addition to standard licensing fees. The MVD says drivers with MT licenses that expire within six months or are within three months post-expiration date will be charged an additional $25 fee for a REAL ID. Drivers with MT driver’s licenses that are more than six months from expiring or more than three months post-expiration date will pay an additional $50.

Drivers who want to update their licenses can make an appointment by calling their local MVD office or by visiting the MVD's REAL ID website. A full list of required documents for a REAL ID application is available here.

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