How Missourians Can Get Real ID Licenses, And What That Means For Air Travel | St. Louis Public Radio

How Missourians Can Get Real ID Licenses, And What That Means For Air Travel

Mar 26, 2019

Missourians can now apply for updated licenses and other state identification cards, which will be required to board airplanes and enter federal buildings and military bases late next year.

The Missouri Department of Revenue is offering the new IDs at all state license offices to comply with the federal Real ID Act of 2005.

By Oct. 1, 2020, residents of every U.S. state and territory will be required to present Real ID-compliant drivers licenses or identification cards to board domestic flights, enter nuclear power plants and access federal buildings, including federal courthouses and military bases.

However, airline travelers with noncompliant licenses after October 2020 will still be allowed to fly if they present a valid passport, passport card or other approved forms of identification.


How do I know if I have a Real ID card?

Missouri’s Real ID cards will have gold stars located in the upper right hand of the card, according to the Missouri Department of Revenue website. Noncompliant IDs will have “not for Real ID purposes” printed on the same area on the card.

Both Real ID-compliant and noncompliant cards may also be marked as “limited term,” based on how applicants verified their legal status.

The license-card design will otherwise look the same as the old IDs.

Do I have to update my license?

Missouri was one of the last states to comply with the federal Real ID law after some state lawmakers opposed the act due to privacy concerns. Those concerns settled after legislators agreed to make applying for a Real ID card optional.

As part of the deal, lawmakers made it a crime to misuse or unlawfully distribute a driver’s data. They also banned storing Social Security numbers in a database that the state or federal government has access to.

When should I get the new ID? 

Joey Plaggenberg, director of Missouri’s Motor Vehicle and Driver Licensing Division said in a statement that his department expects license offices to be crowded and have longer wait times during the initial weeks of offering the new IDs. Unless your ID is expiring within the next month, Plaggenberg recommends avoiding the lines and waiting until the rush subsides.

“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,” said Plaggenberg.

Applicants need to show proof of identity, legal status, a social security number and two documents verifying Missouri residency. New driver license and nondriver license fees range from $3.50 to $45, depending on the applicant’s age and the duration of license.

The Illinois Secretary of State's Office also is now issuing Real ID-compliant licenses.

The federal Real ID law, passed following the 9/11 attacks, set standards for issuing identification cards, including security enhancements and proof that recipients are legally in the country.

Correction: The Illinois Secretary of State's Office issues Real ID-compliant licenses in Illinois. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated which office issues Real ID cards.

Follow Andy Tsubasa Field on Twitter @AndyTsubasaF.

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