Montana residents will need REAL ID-compliant identification to fly starting October 2020

Local Press Release
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

KALISPELL, Mont. - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today reminded Montana residents that starting Oct. 1, 2020, travelers will need a REAL ID-compliant form of identification to board a commercial flight.

The Montana Motor Vehicle Division started issuing REAL ID-compliant driver licenses earlier this year. To determine if a driver license is compliant, look for a small star inside a gold circle in the upper right-hand corner. This icon will indicate that it meets federal regulations that establish minimum security standards.

Montanans have the option to either upgrade to a REAL ID or stay with the standard driver license. However, a standard credential - without the gold circle and star - will not be valid to board a flight or to access secure federal facilities, including military bases, nuclear facilities and some federal offices starting Oct. 1, 2020. The standard Montana driver license will have the words “Not for Federal Identification” printed at the top.

To get a REAL ID, state residents will need to make an in-person visit to the Montana Motor Vehicle Division and bring certain documents to prove U.S. citizenship, Social Security Number and Montana residency. A full list of required documents can be found at The cost for a Montana REAL ID is the standard license fee plus $25.

TSA officers who complete the travel document verification process will not allow travelers into the security checkpoint without a REAL ID-compliant or other acceptable form of identification after October 1, 2020, because of a federal law (The REAL ID Act of 2005) that mandates that a REAL ID is needed for federal purposes. REAL ID is a coordinated effort by the federal government to improve the reliability and accuracy of driver licenses and identification cards. The improvements are intended to inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.

Signs are currently posted at airports nationwide reminding the public that REAL ID-compliant licenses or other acceptable forms of identification will be mandatory for air travel beginning on October 1, 2020. TSA maintains a full list of acceptable forms of REAL ID-compliant identification at

For more information and details about how to obtain a REAL ID driver license or identification card in Montana, visit