October 1st is the deadline to get your Real ID in Montana, and it’s recommended that you get over to the DMV sooner rather than later to make the switch. So one Custer County man did just that, but his efforts to be proactive turned into a nightmare for him and his family.
“I’ve never heard my father cry…almost every day for the past four weeks, that’s all he does is cry, because he just wants to have a piece of paper that says this is who I am because this is who I know I am,” says his daughter, Tiffany Kiel.
For the past month, Kiel has dedicated her time to helping her father track down his birth certificate. When her father went to get the Real ID, he had to provide several forms of identification, his birth certificate being one of them. The clerk at the time gave him his ID, but recommended he replace his birth certificate, which was starting to look rough.
“My father is the type of person who wants to make sure he has all of his things in order,” says Kiel.
But when he went to Vital Records in Helena… the state had… nothing. This man was born under a different name, but his mother changed it when he was seven. The state had no record of that change. In the meantime, he’s lived his life; been married, has kids, worked as a truck driver with a CDL. All the while, his identification was missing at the state level.
“Contradictory is how it’s feeling. They’ll go through loopholes when it’s convenient for them in a way.”
So now, Kiel says his only option is to legally change his name with the state to the same name he’s been living with. And in order to legally change your name you have to petition the court, then get a local newspaper to print the notice for about a month straight. That can cost several hundred dollars and a few more visits to the courthouse.
All of this frustration and headache is what led Kiel to me.
“I’m speaking to somebody, and they said maybe you should call the news to see if they could do a story so that they can make people more aware of this process.”
So now I ask you the question: when is the last time you really read your birth certificate, and made sure your records are up to date? Remember, if you want to fly anywhere after October 1st without a passport, you need to get a Real ID, and in order to do that you need several different certified documents including:
-documents proving your full legal name and date of birth
-a document proving your social security number
-you need to prove your Montana residency
-and you need documents proving all name changes.
For more information about the Real ID and its requirements, click here.