This story was updated to reflect the new deadline of October 1, 2021.
HELENA – On March 23rd, President Trump announced that the 10/01/2020 deadline for obtaining a voluntary REAL ID is being postponed due to COVID-19. According to Miles Novak with Senator Daines' Office the new deadline will be October 1st, 2021.
“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 www.mtrealid.gov.
Tester Announces REAL ID Deadline Postponed in Response to COVID-19
Original deadline to comply was October 1
(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced the deadline to obtain a REAL ID to fly on commercial domestic flights has been pushed back in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Montanans should be worried about keeping their families healthy, not standing in line at the DMV to fill out government paperwork,” Tester said. “This measure will help slow the spread of the coronavirus and ensure Montanans remain compliant with the law while keeping Montana families safe.”
Tester has led the charge in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. He successfully pushed to delay the tax filing deadline until July 15, introduced legislation—now law—to guarantee testing for the virus will be at zero cost, and he passed bipartisan legislation through the Senate to ensure veterans GI benefits are protected during the outbreak. He has also doubled down on his efforts to press the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Indian Health Service to provide veterans, VA healthcare staff, and Tribes with access to proper resources and information.
From Senator Daines' office:
This evening President Trump announced he will be extending the REAL ID requirements deadline and the new deadline will be announced soon. This has been a top priority of Senator Daines.
“Extending the REAL ID requirements is something I’ve been pushing for and I’m glad that President Trump acted. Montanans shouldn’t have to worry about a deadline when they should be focused on their health and finances. This is good news,” Daines said.
Last week, Senator Daines introduced a bipartisan bill urging the Administration to delay enforcement of REAL ID for at least one year in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Earlier this month, Senator Daines sent a letter to President Trump asking the administration to delay requirements of the REAL ID Act of 2005 for Montanans.