Federal Government Announces Montana is REAL ID Compliant

In a letter from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Montana Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) was formally notified Montana is now in full compliance with the REAL ID Act and regulation.

With this notification, federal agencies and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) 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. Beginning October 2020, only Montana licenses and ID cards that are REAL ID compliant will be accepted to board domestic commercial flights or enter secure federal facilities.

During the 2017 Legislative Session (Senate Bill 366), Montana’s legislature and governor directed MVD to create an optional driver license that complies with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. In January 2019, MVD began issuing compliant credentials for Montanans who choose to obtain them.

MVD Administrator Sarah Garcia said, “Previously, Montana received two year-long extensions from DHS for REAL ID implementation. That was critically important, because it allowed us time to work closely with DHS to ensure full compliance with the law. We acquired the necessary equipment to implement REAL ID, hire and train new staff, and give Montanans the information they need to decide if a REAL ID license or ID is right for them. Receiving the formal notice that we’re a REAL ID compliant state is great news for Montana.”

As part of its ongoing efforts to inform the public about REAL ID, MVD launched its mtrealid.gov website, which provides answers to frequently asked questions and allows interested individuals to sign up for MVD appointments to obtain a REAL ID compliant license or ID. Last year, MVD also launched a public service announcement campaign created through a partnership with MSU-Billings students designed to reach Montanans through several different TV and radio messages.

On a related note, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) announced it has selected MVD for four awards. These honors are for excellence and innovation displayed through MVD’s REAL ID outreach campaign and website, and marks the first time Montana’s MVD has won an AAMVA International Award.

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