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REAL ID Frequently Asked Questions

​What is REAL ID?

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and ID cards. The Act refers to federal anti-terrorism laws and regulations that control access to the following:

  • Federally regulated commercial aircraft.
  • Federal facilities requiring identification to enter, such as military bases or nuclear power facilities.

The Act prohibits federal agencies like the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) from accepting cards for official purposes from states that do not meet minimum security standards.


What does this mean if I travel on domestic flights?

Minnesotans should be able to use their standard driver's license or identification cards for domestic air travel or access to federal facilities until 2020 since the state is on-track to issue REAL ID-compliant cards Oct. 1, 2018. If Minnesota does not receive another extension, a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card or another acceptable form of identification will be required. Those include:

  • Enhanced driver's license or ID card (EDL/EID).
  • Valid U.S. passport book or card.
  • Other acceptable forms of identification for commercial flights are listed on the TSA's website.

If Minnesota receives an extension past Oct. 10, 2018, the standard Minnesota driver's license would continue to be an acceptable form of identification to board airplanes until Oct. 1, 2020, or the end of the extension, whichever comes first. While the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is currently not accepting state applications at this time, DHS informed DPS-DVS the state may request an extension from enforcement later this year to bridge the gap between when Minnesota begins issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses and ID cards and when DHS approves the state's compliance certification.

What does this mean if I visit a federal facility?

When planning a visit to a federal facility, visitors should contact the facility to determine what identification will be accepted.


Am I required to get a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or ID card?

No. A REAL ID-compliant card is optional and is not needed for the following:

  • Being licensed to drive.
  • Voting or registering to vote.
  • Entering federal facilities that do not require a person to present identification.
  • Applying or receiving federal benefits.
  • Accessing health or life-preserving services (including hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement or constitutionally-protected activities (including a defendant's access to court proceedings).
  • Participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigations.


Where can I get a REAL ID?

REAL ID compliant licenses and ID cards are not available yet in Minnesota. They will be available at most office locations by Oct. 10, 2018.


Do I have to renew my driver's license or ID card early to get a REAL ID?

A REAL ID-compliant card is optional, so there's no need to renew early unless you choose to.


What will I pay if I renew early to get a REAL ID?

There will be a fee, in addition to the standard cost of the card, for early renewal based on how many months the REAL ID is obtained before a person's driver's license or ID card expires:

  • $2 for a renewal 17 months early.
  • $4 for a renewal 18-29 months early.
  • $6 for a renewal more than 29 months early.

The standard cost for a REAL ID is the same as for a standard driver's license or ID card.​

  • REAL ID driver's license: $25.25.
  • REAL ID identification card: $19.25.


How do I decide if I should apply for a REAL ID?

Determining which type of license or ID card works best depends on what a person needs to use the card for. If a driver's license is needed for federal use, such as boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft, accessing federal facilities or entering nuclear power plants, a REAL ID-compliant card or enhanced driver's license or ID card would be required. Someone who needs a driver's license only for identification purposes and lawful driving privileges does not need a REAL ID or EDL.

Review the information on the license/ID options page for more direction.


What if I already have a Minnesota enhanced driver's license or ID card?

Minnesotans who already have an EDL or EID can continue to use it to board domestic flights or access federal facilities after Minnesotan's extension expires on Oct. 10, 2018.

EDLs and EIDs are federally-approved border crossing documents under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Minnesota residents are able to apply for an EDL or EID now. For more information visit the EDL/EID web page.


Will minors need to have a REAL ID to fly domestically?

The TSA does not require children under age 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. The companion will need acceptable identification.


If I apply for a REAL ID, is my personal information being entered into a national database?

No. The information you give to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division (DPS-DVS) is held securely and not shared or entered into a national database.


Will any additional information be stored on the magnetic strip of a REAL ID compared to a standard driver's license?

No. The data on the front of a standard driver's license and ID card is what's stored on the magnetic strip, and that will be the same for REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses and ID cards. ​


How can Minnesotans get help?

  • For driver services questions (licenses, ID cards, driver compliance and exams) send an email to, and include your full name and date of birth with your question. You can also call 651-297-3298. 
  • For vehicle services questions (ownership transfers, titles, liens and vehicle registration) visit the DVS website and submit your question using the vehicle services contact forms. You can also call 651-297-2126 or email and include your full name, date of birth and license plate or VIN number with your question.