Simplify your REAL ID application with our online tool

Dec. 9, 2019

A smartphone displaying the pre-application tool for driver's licenses and identification cards

We want to help you avoid making multiple trips to your local driver’s license office when applying for a REAL ID driver’s license or ID card as the Oct. 1, 2020, deadline nears. Applying for a REAL ID requires us to bring more documentation than we’re used to, but DPS has a tool to make sure you have everything you need before you ever walk out the door.

It’s an online pre-application tool you can access from your computer or phone. You can use it to enter a significant portion of your driver’s license or ID card application – it’s not just for REAL ID – so that your driver’s license office will already have most of your information. Based on the information you put in, the tool will also generate a list of the documents you’ll need to bring with you, so that you can have them all ready when you go.

There’s no one document that Minnesotans are consistently forgetting when they apply for their REAL IDs, but there are some common issues. The first is that, federal law requires you to bring two different documents proving your current Minnesota residency. The second is that, if you’ve had a name change, you must show certified proof of it (think marriage certificates, divorce decrees or court orders). By the way, be sure to change the name on your social security card before you apply for your REAL ID driver’s license. You can find a comprehensive list of the required documentation here.

Remember that if you want to board a domestic flight or enter a federal facility beginning Oct. 1, 2020, you’ll need a REAL ID, enhanced driver’s license or ID, passport or passport card. You’ll still be able to use a standard Minnesota driver’s license as valid identification and to drive as of that date, but not for federal use. If you’re having trouble deciding which type of license you need, our online “help me choose” tool can help.

So if there’s a trip to the driver’s license office in your near future, just remember that there are ways to make it less complicated and time-consuming. And then you’ll have one less item on your to-do list.