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What’s the latest on REAL ID?

April 16, 2018

REAL ID graphic

By now, you’ve probably heard that, come October 10, your standard Minnesota driver’s license won’t be enough to get you on a domestic flight. You’ve also heard that REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards won’t be available in Minnesota until October 1. What to do if you plan to get on a plane on, say, October 11? Don’t worry – you have options.

First of all, Minnesota has something available called an enhanced driver’s license (EDL) or enhanced ID card (EID). An EDL indicates lawful driving privileges, and both EDLs and EIDs can be used as border-crossing documents to re-enter the U.S. by land and sea from Canada, Mexico, and some countries in the Caribbean. What’s more, you can use an EDL or EID for domestic air travel now and after October 10. (Note that you have to be a U.S. citizen to get an EDL or EID, though.)

If you have a valid U.S. passport, you can use that to board domestic flights both now and after October 10. So if your standard driver’s license or ID card is up for renewal now, you can go ahead and renew it as you normally would, and just bring along your passport to board a plane after October 10.

If you really want to use a REAL ID to get on a domestic flight but you have to renew your driver’s license before October 10, you can get a REAL ID before your standard driver’s license or ID card is up for renewal again — just keep in mind that you may have to pay an early renewal fee based on how early you’re renewing. Check out the Minnesota REAL ID website for more information on fees. Once you apply for your REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card, you can expect the standard four- to six-week processing time.

If you’re thinking that Minnesota got an extension on REAL ID enforcement from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), you’re right — but the extension runs out on October 10. DHS is currently not accepting applications for new extensions, but Governor Dayton is committed to seeking another REAL ID extension this fall.

If your travel plans include a minor under the age of 18, don’t worry: The TSA doesn’t require them to provide identification when traveling with an adult companion (though the adult will have to provide an acceptable form of identification).

So feel free to make those post-October 10 domestic air travel plans — just keep an eye on REAL ID updates and Minnesota’s extension status and make sure you know what options are available to you.