Real ID is moving forward in Missouri, but residents won’t see any changes anytime soon.

In June, Gov. Eric Greitens signed legislation to bring the state in compliance with the federal law. The bill goes into effect Aug. 28 and will allow people a choice between a Real ID-compliant ID or keeping one that doesn’t comply with the federal regulations.

While the bill will go into effect in August, it will be a few months before Missourians actually have to get the new ID.

“With the passage of House Bill 151, Missouri has taken a step toward compliance with the Federal Real ID Act of 2005,” said Michelle Gleba, Missouri Department of Revenue director of communications.

“Several other steps will need to be taken over the next 18 months to make Missouri’s driver licenses and nondriver identification cards fully compliant,” she said.

Gleba said she anticipates that Missouri will be Real ID compliant by Feb. 28, 2019.

“Several internal and external processes will need to be changed or upgraded to obtain certification,” she said.

In addition to Greitens’ signing the bill, the Department of Homeland Security recently granted Missouri a waiver. The extension allows Missouri licenses to be treated as valid identification.

Gleba said the state hopes to get additional waivers to allow Missourians to use their current IDs until the new system is ready.

“Current Missouri driver licenses and non-driver identification cards are now being accepted on military bases and in other federal facilities,’ Gleba said. “The January 2018 deadline for air travel still exists, but the Department of Revenue will apply for another extension prior to that date.”

The Department of Homeland Security has granted extensions in the past to other states that are making progress toward becoming Real ID compliant.

Gleba said licenses should be renewed when they expire — even if it’s before Real ID is put in place.

“Missouri residents should continue to treat renewals and new license requests as they have in the past,” she said. “Assuming Missouri receives another extension, or certification from the DHS that compliant identification can be issued, the Department of Revenue will take steps to notify the public.”

Real ID Background

The Real ID Act was passed after Sept. 11 to increase national security. Regarding identification, it establishes a federal standard for state-issued identification. That standard ID is required before boarding airplanes, entering federal buildings and other facilities.

The REAL ID Act was passed in 2005, but Missouri took more than a decade to comply.

Citing privacy concerns, many lawmakers in Missouri had been slow to act on the measure. However, several local legislators said the inconvenience of not having federally recognized identification is outweighing privacy and states’ rights issues.

This year in the legislative session, House Bill 151, sponsored by State Rep. Kevin Corlew, R-Kansas City, required the Missouri Department of Revenue to issue REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses unless the applicant requests a license that is not compliant with the REAL ID Act of 2005.

The option to allow both IDs passed in both the Senate and the House before Greitens signed off.

The new IDs would be valid for state purposes and for official federal purposes outlined in the REAL ID Act and would be acceptable for boarding an airplane and allow access to military bases and federal facilities.