Missouri’s air travelers and visitors to federal buildings and bases are breathing a sigh of relief. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has granted Missouri an extension through Aug. 1, 2019, to meet requirements of the federal REAL ID law. During the extension, federal agencies will accept Missouri-issued driver licenses and identification cards for official purposes, including to fly domestically.
In May 2016, the Missouri Legislature passed a bill that lets Missourians choose if they want a non-compliant driver’s license or a REAL ID. The state has been working to conform to the law that further regulates driver’s licenses to prevent terrorism and fraud.
“The Department of Revenue has been working non-stop to meet the requirements of the REAL ID Act, and we remain on track to achieve full implementation by March 2019,” says Joel Walters, director of the Missouri Department of Revenue.
“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,” he says in a press release.
Real ID’s origins are tied to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and were recommended by the 9/11 Commission. The federal REAL ID Act was passed in 2005 providing extra security measures for those that fly.
Missouri has received several extensions of the law because the Legislature failed to move forward on the issue. In 2016, the federal government notified the state that no more extensions would be granted – prompting the General Assembly to pass a REAL ID bill on the last day of that year’s regular legislative session.