Government & Politics

Travelers rest assured — Missouri gets another extension to comply with REAL ID

Missouri has been granted what may be the last extension it needs to comply with Real ID, the federal law that will require a new driver’s license for people who want to fly and not have to carry another form of identification, the Department of Revenue announced Monday.

The state’s current exemption was set to expire Oct. 10, although the U.S. Department of Homeland Security did not plan to take compliance action against any state until Jan. 22. Now, Missouri has until Aug. 1, 2019, to comply, but state officials expect to be fully compliant by March.

Congress passed Real ID in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It institutes a stricter set of standards for issuing driver’s licenses and other forms of government-issued identification. The law goes into effect Oct. 1, 2020, but states found out of compliance can be subject to enforcement early.

Residents in states that are subject to enforcement may not be able to board a commercial aircraft without a passport or some other form of identification, such as a passport card, military ID or permanent resident card.

”With this additional extension, which is valid through Aug. 1, 2019, citizens can rest assured they’ll be able to continue using their Missouri-issued driver licenses and ID cards for official purposes, including domestic air travel, until they are able to apply for a REAL ID-compliant driver license or ID card in March,” Missouri Department of Revenue director Joel Walters said in a release.

Kansas has been in compliance with the federal law and issuing Real ID-compliant licenses since last year, but residents don’t have to have them yet to board commercial flights and go on federal property.

Lawmakers in Missouri resisted Real ID for years and had barred the state agency from complying with the federal law. Some saw Real ID as an invasion of privacy by the federal government. Others raised alarms about the potential for security breaches because of Real ID’s requirement that states scan and retain copies of drivers’ documents, such as birth certificates and Social Security Cards.

Last year, Missouri lawmakers lifted the ban on compliance and passed a law allowing residents to get Real ID-compliant licenses if they want them or opt out if they don’t.