Starting in October of 2020, you could be denied permission to board your flight if you don't have an approved REAL ID when you get to the TSA check in.
You'll need a REAL ID compliant Driver's License, a passport, passport card, military ID, Tribal ID or government employee ID to even be allowed to enter a TSA check-in site.
The REAL ID requirement was passed by congress 14 years ago. But, the compliance date has been pushed back again and again. TSA spokeswoman, Lorie Dankers, says the Department of Homeland Security says October 1st of 2020 is the final date for REAL ID.
"Rather than speculating on what may or may not happen on October first, we're asking people instead to spend that time and that energy determining what kind of identification they're planning to use,” said TSA Spokeswoman Lorie Dankers. “At this point all indications are that on October first 2020 the officer at the travel document checking station will be asking for a REAL ID compliant driver's license or identification card or another acceptable form of identification. And, beyond that I don't have any information."
"I'm not here to sell either document to you today, but I am here to say that's what we want people to do,” said Montana Division of Motor Vehicles Administrator Sarah Garcia. “We want people to make a decision for themselves whether they want to get a Montana drivers license that's REAL ID compliant for domestic travel and access to federal facilities, or, would they rather carry their passport with them when they travel domestically on an airline."
Dankers recommends against carrying a passport for domestic travel because of the danger of losing it and the difficulty of replacing it. Instead she suggests purchasing a passport card, which will meet the REAL ID requirement.
A passport costs $175 with a passport card.
A REAL ID drivers license in Montana costs about $60.
But in Gallatin and some other counties there is a long waiting list for getting a drivers license appointment. Right now that wait in Bozeman is 69 days.
It takes at least ten days to process your license, so Garcia says you'll want to make your drivers license appointment no later than June first of 2020.