Does A Real Id Cost Money

Learn where you can get a Real ID, what other forms of identification you can use to fly inside the U.S. and the status of your state

Update: President Trump announced on Monday, March 23 that the Real ID deadline of Oct. 1 will be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

REAL ID in Pennsylvania. Beginning October 1, 2021, Pennsylvanians will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, photo ID card, or another form of federally-acceptable identification (such as a valid passport or military ID) to board a domestic commercial flight or enter a federal building or military installation that requires ID. There is no additional cost for a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card when a person renews normally. A correction fee may be charged when people apply for a compliant license outside of their normal renewal cycle. If you did not find the information you need, enter a descriptive word or phrase in the Search field located in the upper right corner.

Come Oct. 1, Americans will need a Real ID driver’s license or state ID to fly anywhere inside the United States. But as of mid-February, about 34% of all driver’s license holders – about 95 million Americans – had licenses or state ID cards that were Real ID compliant. With more than 276 million Americans who have yet to obtain a Real ID, multiple states and leaders at several of the nation’s major airports have called on the White House to postpone the Oct. 1 deadline – warning of a potential travel crisis if the date isn't pushed back.

What to Know

  • A Real ID card, or other qualifying form of ID such as a passport, will be required to fly anywhere inside the U.S. starting on Oct. 1
  • As of late February, two-thirds of Americans with state-issued IDs had yet to get a Real ID
  • Major airports have warned of commotion at U.S. airports if the Oct. 1 deadline isn't pushed back

Some states like Oregon haven’t even started issuing IDs, and others like New Jersey remain overwhelmed by demand. But in Illinois, the Secretary of State’s Office remains “cautiously optimistic” it will be able to meet the Oct. 1 deadline, and has taken extra measures including extending hours and encouraging anyone who doesn't need the ID to reconsider applying for it.

Have you gotten your Real ID yet? From its creation to what documents are needed to apply and the progress made in Illinois and neighboring states, NBC 5 has learned the ins and out of Real ID to help you get prepared for Oct. 1.

What is a Real ID?

The Real ID Act is not a new law, having been passed by Congress in 2005, but after years of court battles and extensions, the law will soon change the way residents get into federally controlled facilities and fly on planes.

The Real ID Act was designed to make identification cards more secure and harder to duplicate or forge and was part of the recommendations issued by the 9/11 Commission.

Who Will Need a Real ID?

If you fly on domestic flights or visit federal facilities, you will need a Real ID-compliant form of identification.
You can still use a U.S. passport for flying or for visiting federal facilities after the deadline passes, but a non-compliant driver's license won't be sufficient.As a result of high demand, in late February, the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office urged people who have other acceptable forms of ID – like a military ID or passport – to consider reapplying.

Where can I get a Real ID card?

In Illinois, you can obtain a Real ID card by visiting an IllinoisSecretary of State facility.

While in Indiana, residents can apply for a Real ID card at Bureau of Motor Vehicles offices.

In Wisconsin, Real ID cards are available at Division of Motor Vehicles service centers.

What do I need to get a Real ID?

In order to obtain a Real ID, residents will need to provide documents that prove their identity, lawful status, their Social Security number and two documents that show proof of residency.

  • For proof of identity, a passport, a U.S. birth certificate, an employment authorization document or a permanent resident card will be accepted. Proof of lawful status can also be provided by a U.S. birth certificate, unexpired U.S. passport or a foreign passport with a visa and I-94 form.
  • Residents will also need to provide proof of their Social Security number. A Social Security card, a W-2 or a pay stub with a Social Security number on it will be accepted.
  • Residency documentation will also be required, so residents will need to provide at least two proofs of residency. Those can include a utility bill, a rental agreement, a deed/title or a bank statement.
  • In Illinois, residents will need to provide proof of signature. A credit or debit card, a canceled check or a current Illinois ID can be used for proof of signature. In Wisconsin, the document for proof of identity must bear the person’s signature.

In Wisconsin, if a customer visits a DMV service center and does not have the required documents, the individual can be granted a 60-day extension on their current license or ID card, according to a DMV spokesperson.

group representing America’s airports is pushing for the federal government to delay the Oct. 1 deadline for travelers to get Real ID-compliant identification, warning that many states are struggling with the increased demand for the compliant cards. NBC 5's Natalie Martinez has the story.

What is the status of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin?

Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin are fully compliant with the Real ID requirements, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

As of March 6, more than 840,000 Real ID cards have been issued in Illinois, according to Beth Kaufman, press secretary for the Secretary of State's Office. There are approximately 8 million drivers in Illinois, however Kaufman noted that not every residents needs a Real ID.

The state of Indiana has been issuing Real IDs since 2010, WTHR, the NBC station in Indianapolis, reported.

Wisconsin began issued Real ID compliant driver's licenses in 2013, but has recently seen an increase in applications across the state, according to a DMV spokesperson. Despite the increase in customer volume, 75% of DMV customers are being served within 20 minutes or less, the spokesperson stated.

As of March 1, 2020, more than 1,960,000 of the state's residents hold a Real ID-compliant driver's license or ID card, which amounts to about 42% of current Wisconsin cardholders.

In Wisconsin, it's highly unlikely that all customers will transition to a Real ID, according to the DMV. For example, the state issues a non-expiring identification card for persons 65 years and older. Since the ID card doesn't expire, it doesn't meet Real ID requirements.

'Many customers feel that this credential meets their needs and will not be otherwise impacted by the REAL ID enforcement deadline,' a DMV spokesman said.

What about the other states?

A total of 48 states are currently issuing Real ID cards. However, acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said in February that it’s unlikely all states will meet the Oct. 1 deadline to issue Real IDs to their residents.

The state of New Jersey is “under review” for compliance by the federal government. Real IDs are currently being issued by the state, but only on an appointment basis.

Both Oklahoma and Oregon were previously granted extensions and have yet to begin issuing the cards. Oklahoma will start issuing Real IDs on April 30, 2020, at select locations in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, according to NBC station KFOR in Oklahoma City. The federal government granted Oklahoma an extension until Sept. 18, 2020, to comply with the Real ID Act.

While in Oregon, residents won’t be able to obtain Real ID cards until July 6. The delay was caused by a major overhaul of the DMV’s computer system, state officials said. Oregon was granted an extension until Aug. 7, 2020.

Real ID Compliance Map

Is the federal government doing anything to help states meet the Oct. 1 deadline?

In hope of reducing wait times, in mid-February, the Department of Homeland Security deemed it acceptable for states to allow residents to pre-submit identity and lawful status documents through a secure electronic process. The same documents must be brought to a department of motor vehicles office facility and be verified by personnel.

The option is up to the discretion of each state. Both Illinois and Wisconsin aren't allowing documents to be be pre-submitted, state officials said.

According to the Illinois Secretary of State's Office, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators expressed fraud concerns regarding pre-submission following the DHS announcement.

What if my name has changed?

Documents indicating a name change, such as a certified marriage certificate, will be required if an applicant’s name is different than the one on their birth certificate.

Will minors need ID cards or driver's licenses to fly inside the U.S.?

No. The TSA doesn’t require children under the age of 18 to provide identification while traveling with a companion inside the U.S. The adult traveling with the child will need an acceptable form of identification.

What does a Real ID look like?

Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin Real IDs all have a star in a circle at the top right corner to show they are federally compliant.

How much does a Real ID cost?

In Illinois, a Real ID card will cost the same as a driver’s license ($30) or a state ID ($20). If your current ID doesn’t need to be renewed, in Illinois, you can still apply for the Real ID, but there will be a $5 change fee. If your license does not expire for more than a year, the Real ID will still have the same expiration date, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

While in Indiana, a Real ID will also cost $17.50 for a driver’slicense or $9 for a state-issued ID card. A state-issued ID card is free forresidents who are at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen and eligible to vote.

In Wisconsin, residents can receive a Real ID without paying an additional fee if the upgrade takes place when an individual’s driver’s license is renewed. If a person’s driver’s license doesn’t expire before 2020, they may obtain a Real ID-compliant license for $14.

Can you travel outside the U.S. with a Real ID?

Either a U.S. passport or passport card is still required for Americans who wish to travel outside the U.S.

What other forms of identification will I be able to use to get through TSA checkpoints?

A U.S. passport, a passport card, a military ID and a permanent resident card are among the acceptable forms of identification. A full list can be found on the TSA website.

Under federal law, passport cards are not permitted for international air travel.

What is a non-compliant driver's license?

A non-compliant license shows you haven’t validated your identity, lawful status, SSN and/or residency. A non-compliant license will allow residents to drive and vote, but won’t be a federally-accepted form of ID. Travelers with non-compliant licenses will not be permitted through TSA checkpoints starting on Oct. 1.

Is a Real ID required to vote?

A Real ID is not required to vote in any of the 50 states. States that require ID to vote, including Indiana and Wisconsin, allow any current driver’s license or identification card issued by that state.

Have additional questions?

Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin all offer interactive documentchecklists to help ensure residents bring proper documents when applying.

For Illinois residents, the Secretary of State’s Office has set up a hotline to address concerns and help residents with the process. You can call the hotline at 833-503-4074.

In Indiana, if you’re having trouble producing the necessary documentation for a Real ID, you’re encouraged to reach out to the BMV customer service center at 888-692-6841.

Visit the DMV website for information regarding the application process in Wisconsin.

Yes! The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has granted Montana full compliance status.

Now, ALL Montana driver license and ID cards will still be accepted as identification for domestic, commercial flights and as identification to access federal facilities until May 3, 2023.

A Montana credential is either a driver license or identification (ID) card issued by the Montana Motor Vehicle Division.

The REAL ID Act is a federal law about the security, authentication, and issuance for state driver licenses and ID cards. Congress enacted this law based on a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission.

You can find answers to many of your questions in these FAQs. You can also find out more information at the Department of Homeland Security website and the Transportation Security Administration website.

Real Id Cost Money

It is your choice to get a REAL ID credential or not. If you fly domestically and simply want the convenience of carrying your driver license or ID card to board your flights or if you do not have another TSA approved alternative form of identification, you may want to obtain a REAL ID so your travel plans are not affected.

The decision to get a REAL ID credential is completely up to you. It is not required for any other reason than to allow you to continue to fly domestically and access certain federal facilities after May 3, 2023. For example, you may decide to not get a REAL ID if you already have a passport or another TSA approved alternative form of identification.

Yes. You can still vote, apply for federal or state benefits, and drive. Furthermore you can enter Federal facilities that do not require a person to present identification, register to vote, be licensed to drive in Montana, obtain a Montana ID card, participate in law enforcement proceedings or investigations, and access health or life preserving services (including hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement, or constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant’s access to court proceedings).

There is not a list of these locations. However, you do not need a REAL ID compliant credential when entering any facility that does not require you to present identification or to access constitutionally protected activities—including a defendant’s access to court proceedings.

Does Real Id Cost Extra

You should check with the federal facility you want to enter to find out if you need a REAL ID credential.

No. The federal government does not have a federal database storing REAL ID information. We securely store your REAL ID information with your driving record information.

May 3, 2023. By then, you must have a REAL ID credential, or a TSA approved alternative form of identification, to fly within the U.S. or to access certain federal facilities or nuclear power plants.

Yes! The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has granted Montana full compliance status.

Now, ALL Montana driver license and ID cards will still be accepted as identification for domestic, commercial flights and as identification to access federal facilities until May 3, 2023.

You can find Montana’s status at the DHS website.

No. There is no need to rush into a driver license station. Valid Montana driver license/ID cards will be accepted by TSA to board a domestic flight and by federal agents to enter secure federal facilities until October 1, 2021.

Additionally, if you have a valid U.S. passport or U.S. passport card, military ID, or other federally approved identification, you may continue to use this as your form of identification after May 3, 2023 for federal purposes.

Beginning May 3, 2023, you will need a REAL ID compliant driver license, identification card or an acceptable alternative form of identification as approved by TSA, to board domestic commercial flights or enter a federal facility without a secondary form of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approved identification.

The Montana Legislature voted to give Montanans the option of getting a REAL ID credential, so citizens can fly domestically or to access certain federal facilities after May 3, 2023.

No. You are not required to have a REAL ID driver license to drive. You can continue to use Montana’s traditional driver license to drive.

In January 2019, you can get a REAL ID credential at these driver license stations:

Big Timber
Cut Bank
Deer Lodge

Fort Benton
Great Falls

Miles City
Red Lodge
Thompson Falls
Wolf Point

You can view all our REAL ID location on our custom Google map and view business hours, additional info, and get directions to each station through Google Maps.

Our goal is to issue REAL ID credentials at all driver license stations; however, we are still searching for a scanner that will work for our travel stations since examiners bring all equipment with them to these locations. We are continuing to research solutions, and will keep you updated.

You can find the current and comprehensive list of all acceptable alternative documents on TSA’s website.

You may also contact your airline for specific questions about identification requirements for traveling.

You must:

  • Make an appointment
  • Appear in person
  • Complete an application
  • Get your photograph taken
  • Present documents to prove:
    • Your name and date of birth
    • You are a Montana resident
    • You are authorized to be in the United States
  • Know your social security number
  • Have your documents scanned by MVD staff

Appointments are recommended but not required. You can schedule an appointment online (you must select one of the driver license stations issuing REAL ID credentials) or by calling 1 (406) 444-1772 during regular business hours. For a list of exam stations offering REAL ID services visit REAL ID exam stations.

There are only a few types of documents that are accepted. You may find a complete checklist of the documents here.

We scan your documents and securely store them along with the other information that is part of your driving record.

No, we scan a copy and return the originals to you.


Yes. On the upper right-hand corner:

  • A REAL ID credential has a gold star
  • A non-REAL ID credential has the words “Not for Federal Identification Purposes.”

You can see the physical difference here.

These words mean that a credential is not REAL ID compliant.

The only difference is your ability to fly domestically, to access certain federal facilities or nuclear power plants. Other than that, a non-REAL ID credential works just like your current driver license or ID card.

To see the physical difference click here.

Paper credentials are not REAL ID compliant. After May 3, 2023, you will not be able to fly domestically with a paper credential.

Beginning July 1, 2021, the fee to add REAL ID to any Montana driver license or ID is $25.00.

If it is a driver license, you can get a replacement driver license either in person or by mail. You must pay an additional $25.00 REAL ID fee. When we issue you a replacement REAL ID credential, we will cancel your lost driver license.

If it is an identification card, you must appear in person at a driver license station and apply for a new identification card. You must pay an additional $25.00 REAL ID fee.

Only one. You may have one REAL ID driver license or one REAL ID identification card at one time.

No. You must choose between a REAL ID driver license or a REAL ID identification card.

Yes. The following combinations are allowed:

Does It Cost Money To Get A Real Id In Pa

REAL ID driver license and a non-REAL ID identification card

Non-REAL ID driver license and a REAL ID identification card

Non-REAL ID driver license, Non-REAL ID identification card, REAL ID identification card.

Yes. If you qualify, you may have as many identification cards as you pay for. However, you may have only one REAL ID identification card at a time.

Yes. Montana produces secure credentials that deter fraud and protect the identities of our citizens.

Some states issue enhanced driver licenses (EDLs) as an alternative for entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean by land or a sea port. An EDL is a chipped credential that can access an individual’s biographic and biometric data.

No. The Montana Legislature has not authorized MVD to issue enhanced driver licenses. The requirements are more stringent than issuing a REAL ID compliant credential.

According to TSA, children under 18 do not need to give any identification when traveling with a companion. You must contact your airline for specific identification questions for travelers under 18.

Does A Real Id Cost Money

When REAL ID compliant licenses and identification cards are available, your initial application for a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or identification card must be done in person at a driver license station. You will not be able to use the online renewal service.

Does a real id cost money

Yes. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you will be able to renew an already issued REAL ID driver license by mail or online as long as you have not changed your name, date of birth (for example, in the case of adoption), or social security number (for example, the Social Security Administration issued you a new number because of fraud).

You will need to contact the appropriate agency to get a certified copy of an accepted identity document.

No. REAL ID is a national set of standards, not a national identification card. REAL ID does not create a federal database of customer information. Each jurisdiction continues to issue its own unique licenses and identification cards, maintains its own records, and controls who gets access to those records and under what circumstances. The purpose of REAL ID is to make our identity documents more consistent and secure.

No. We cannot issue any credential (REAL ID or non-REAL ID) to a person who has not proven they are authorized to be in the United States.

You will receive a non-REAL ID credential with the words “Not for Federal Identification Purposes” displayed in the upper right corner. This card cannot be used to board domestic flights or visit military bases or secure federal facilities beginning May 3, 2023. Check with the federal facility/military base before you visit to verify their identification requirements.


Does A Real Id Cost Anything

No. An e-DL is a driver license that has a chip embedded into it and it can be used to cross into Canada. Montana does not issue e-DL’s.

A certified document has an original seal, either raised or stamped, by the agency that the document was issued from. This is NOT the same as a document being notarized.

Federal law does not allow a military or tribal ID to be used as a step 1 document. However, they may be used as an alternative document, which you can see on TSA’s Website.

No. You do not need to do anything. Your current license is still valid, even if it does not have the words, “Not for Federal identification Purpose” on it.

MVD Headquarters is located at 302 N Roberts, Helena, MT 59620. This location does not issue driver licenses or ID cards.

Motor Vehicle Division
PO Box 201430
Helena, MT