Montana Secures Extension of ‘REAL ID’ Deadline

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Montana Secures Extension of ‘REAL ID’ Deadline

UPDATE: On March 26, the Department of Homeland Security announced that the new REAL ID enforcement date is October 1, 2021.

Late yesterday, President Trump announced that the October 1, 2020, REAL ID enforcement date is being postponed due to COVID-19.

“For now, Montanans can delay applying for REAL ID driver licenses at their Motor Vehicle Division driver license examiner station if they wish,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “This development, together with our having secured a directive from the governor to allow Montanans with driver licenses that expire in March, April and May to delay renewing those licenses for 90 days, will protect our motoring public and staff from unnecessary contact while we all practice social distancing.”

The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses. The law established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibited federal agencies from accepting (for certain purposes) driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the REAL ID minimum standards.

In 2017, Montana’s legislature passed and the governor signed a bill giving Montanans the option of obtaining a REAL ID compliant driver license.

After the deadline, which has been postponed due to COVID-19, a non-compliant driver license will no longer suffice for purposes of boarding a plane or entering certain buildings and installations (for example: federal agency office buildings, federal courthouses, military bases, nuclear power plants). Anyone not having REAL ID compliant state-issued identification after the deadline will need an alternate form of identification such as a valid U.S. passport.

More information about REAL ID in Montana is available at


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