Effective January 2017, a Montana driver’s license will not be sufficient for access to federal facilities and nuclear power plants. Beginning Jan. 22, 2018, Montanans will need alternative identification to fly in the United States.
These changes are due to Montana’s refusal to comply with the REAL ID Act. The state is joined by Maine, Missouri, Minnesota and Washington.
According to Homeland Security, the REAL ID is essential in achieving, “a holistic national security strategy.” The act is meant to “improve the reliability and accuracy of state-issued identification documents.” They believe it will “inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.”
According to the Montana Department of Justice and Attorney General, Tim Fox, Montana is not compliant with the act because of “concerns over privacy issues and federal overreach.” For these reasons, the Montana legislature unanimously voted for Montana to not comply with the REAL ID Act of 2005.
Due to the refusal to comply, Montana residents must supply alternate forms of identification to fly domestically, or enter federal facilities and nuclear power plants. These alternative forms include a U.S. passport/card or a U.S. military ID. See all accepted forms attsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification.
A passport usually takes about four to six weeks to process. It must be issued at an acceptance facility, such as a post office, clerk of the court offices and other government facilities. Montana holds about 70 of these facilities. A passport costs $195 for persons 16 or older and $165 for persons 15 and younger. To compare, a Montana regular, non-commercial license is $40.