It seems like Montanans have been getting reminders for years to update their IDs to Real IDs because the deadline has been moved back so many times. The current deadline is May 7, 2025.

When I inquired about Real ID at a DMV in Billings a while ago, someone behind the desk gave me the "hot tip" that a passport can be used in place of a Real ID and said that "a passport is cheaper." Because of that advice, it's been my plan to update my passport instead of get a Real ID.

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Right now if you want to renew your passport, the most common protocol is to do it by mail, and according to the U.S. Department of State -- Bureau of Consular Affairs, it's an eight-step process that involves filling out paperwork, submitting necessary documents, providing a photo and paying fees among other details that you can view right here.

But for a select few that meet the requirements, you can renew your passport online.

Online Passport Renewals

According to a story from the New York Post, a beta program for online passport renewal is now open to the public. However, since it is in a trial phase, there are limits on how many people can participate.

The renewal system will open for a limited time each day around 1 p.m. ET. only a small amount of spots will be open per day, and it will close once the daily limit is reached.  - New York Post

The reason for the limits, the U.S. Department of State--Bureau of Consular Affairs, says is to test the system and "monitor the system's performance in real time."

The requirements for renewal online, according to the U.S. Department of State--Bureau of Consular Affairs, have age limits and issue limits based on what year you received the passport, and you can't make any changes to the passport when you renew it. There are additional requirements, but if you think you might be eligible you can learn more here.

If you are making travel arrangements now, keep reading to see the locations that Montanans are advised against visiting.

Montanans Advised To NOT Travel To These 19 Places

The United States Department of State has four levels of advisories: exercise normal precautions, exercise increased caution, reconsider travel and do not travel. These 19 destinations are currently under a Level 4: DO NOT TRAVEL advisory, so plan your travels accordingly.

Gallery Credit: Nick Northern

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