JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri is set to start issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses on Monday as projected, roughly five months before the implementation extension is set to end.
“The Department of Revenue will begin offering REAL ID-compliant driver licenses and nondriver ID cards on Monday, March 25,” said Ken Zellers, acting director for the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR). “Many people have worked very hard to get us to this point, and we’re pleased to be nearing the end of the process to implement a REAL ID program here in Missouri.”
REAL ID is a 2005 federal law which creates a national database of all driver’s license records and sets federal standards for such forms of identification in an effort.
Beginning in October 2020, residents will be required to present a REAL ID-compliant identification card or another approved by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to board domestic flights. These REAL ID-compliant cards will also be required to access federal facilities, including military bases and federal courthouses.
The state held off implementing the federal law for years, but in 2017 the General Assembly passed legislation to give Missourians the option of a REAL ID-compliant license.
After the law’s passage, the Show-Me State was granted a compliance waiver until October 2018. A second waiver was granted, giving the state until August 1, 2019, to start issuing licenses compliant with the federal law.
Starting on March 25, in line with DOR’s original projection date, Missourians will have the option of obtaining an identification card that meets federal regulations.
DOR warned it anticipates increased foot traffic and longer wait times at license offices immediately following the start of REAL ID-compliant license and ID card availability.
Joey Plaggenberg, director of the Motor Vehicle and Driver Licensing Division, emphasized that customers whose driver licenses or ID cards are set to expire in the coming weeks should plan on renewing as they have previously.
“There’s no immediate need to rush to apply for a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card because the current Missouri-issued license and ID card will afford the same access until October 2020,” Plaggenberg said. “Basically, if your license or ID card is not expiring within the next month or so, we strongly suggest waiting to apply until this initial rush has subsided.”
“We want to reiterate that not every person will necessarily need a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card and that applying for one is a choice under Missouri law,” he added.
There are different documentation requirements to obtain a REAL ID-compliant license compared to traditional licenses. Applicants for a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card must submit proof of identity, lawful status, Social Security number, and two documents verifying Missouri residency.
Transaction fees will remain unchanged.
Alisha Shurr and Kaitlyn Schallhorn are both reporters for the Missouri Times.