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Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
Megan Leonard  651-201-7566
September 25, 2019
Be Prepared: Apply for a REAL ID Now
U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security’s full REAL ID enforcement date is one year away

The information in this news release is dated and may have changed since its publication date. For up-to-date REAL ID information, visit REALID.dps.mn.gov.

​ST. PAUL — Minnesotans with standard driver’s licenses or identification (ID) cards are strongly encouraged to consider applying for a REAL ID, so they’ll be prepared ahead of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s full REAL ID enforcement date of Oct. 1, 2020

Every air traveler 18 years of age or older will need a REAL ID, enhanced driver’s license or ID, passport or passport card or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States or enter federal facilities beginning Oct. 1, 2020. A standard Minnesota driver’s license will not be accepted for federal use as of that date, but it will still be a valid form of identification and valid for lawful driving privileges. 

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division (DPS-DVS) wants to make sure anyone who needs a REAL ID as of Oct. 1, 2020, has one in hand.

“We want all Minnesotans to have the required identification to board an airplane next year,” said Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington. “Less than 10 percent of all Minnesota driver’s license and ID card-holders have a REAL ID-compliant card right now. We know there are people in this state who will need a REAL ID and don’t have one yet. We want to reach those people and make sure they know exactly what they need to do to get a REAL ID-compliant card.”

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

"REAL ID is a coordinated effort by the federal government to improve the accuracy of driver's licenses and will greatly improve aviation security," said Minnesota TSA Federal Security Director Cliff Van Leuven. "We highly recommend that Minnesotans who plan to travel by air upgrade their standard driver's license to a REAL ID or enhanced license before the deadline."

"I can't emphasize enough how important the October 2020 deadline is for Minnesotans who fly for work or pleasure," said Brian Ryks, CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission. "Our hope is that no one who shows up for a flight a year from now will have to be turned away because they don't have the right kind of identification. We will work with the federal Transportation Security Administration and Minnesota Department of Public Safety officials over the course of the coming year to help get the word out to the flying public - it's time to get REAL ID-compliant identification."

Renew Early
Any eligible Minnesotan can apply for a REAL ID now, but there is a fee in addition to the standard cost of the license or ID card. It depends on how early you renew. 
  • $2 for a renewal up to 17 months before expiration
  • $4 for a renewal 18-29 months before expiration
  • $6 for a renewal more than 29 months before expiration

When renewing early, four years will be added to the license or ID card’s original expiration date, so while an early renewal will cost a little more, the license or ID card will be valid for a longer period of time. The early renewal option is only for those who renewed their Minnesota driver’s license or ID card before REAL IDs were available on Oct. 1, 2018. Their licenses must also expire after the full enforcement date of Oct. 1, 2020. 

Enhanced driver’s license or ID (EDL/EID)
State Enhanced Driver's Licenses (EDLs) designated as acceptable border-crossing documents by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative are acceptable for official federal purposes such as accessing a Federal facility or boarding a commercial aircraft. Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington are the only states that currently issue EDLs.

Minnesotans who have an enhanced driver’s license or ID (EDL/EID) can continue to use it to board domestic flights or enter federal facilities after Oct. 1, 2020. 

More information about EDLs and EIDs can be found on the REAL ID website

Save time, Arrive Prepared
Minnesota’s new driver services system, which launched in 2018, features an online pre-application tool. Minnesotans can provide a significant amount of information online before they arrive at a driver’s license office. The tool also includes a list of required documents for each license type. 

REAL ID Required Documents
Minnesotans are required to provide additional documentation when applying for a REAL ID, compared to a standard driver’s license or ID card.

A person must provide the following in person when applying:
  • One document proving identity, date of birth and legal presence in the United States.
    • If the name on the identity document is not the same as a person's current name, a name change document must be submitted.
  • One document proving social security number.
    • If you have not updated your name change with the Social Security Administration, you must do so prior to applying for a Real ID.
  • Two different documents proving current residency in Minnesota. 
    • Must have applicant’s name as used at print and current address in Minnesota. A P.O. Box will not suffice as proof of current residency in Minnesota.
Applicants must provide original documents or documents certified by the agency that issued them. Laminated documents will not be accepted. Digital documents shown on your phone or other electronic device will also not be accepted. A full list of accepted documentation is on the REAL ID website.

When will I receive my REAL ID?
DPS-DVS is working to process all driver’s license and ID card applications as quickly as possible. Here are the processing dates as of Sept. 24:
  • Standard licenses and ID cards: 
    • DVS is currently processing standard applications from Aug. 16.

  • REAL ID-compliant licenses and ID cards: 
    • DVS is currently processing REAL ID applications from Aug. 15.

  • Enhanced Driver’s Licenses and ID cards: 
    • DVS is currently processing Enhanced applications from Aug. 21.

REAL ID Frequently Asked Questions
  • Do I need to get a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card?
    • No. A REAL ID-compliant card is optional and 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.

  • Are the requirements the same for a REAL ID and an enhanced ID?
    • Enhanced IDs are only issued to U.S. citizens and require additional documentation that REAL IDs do not, such as proof of citizenship, proof of photographic identity and an interview questionnaire at the time of application. Please note that enhanced IDs are REAL ID compliant and offer the additional benefit of travel by land or sea to Mexico, Canada and some Caribbean countries.

  • My new driver’s license arrived and it says it’s not for federal identification. Did I get a fake license?
    • The standard driver’s license you received is authentic and will continue to be acceptable for driving privileges, but it is not REAL ID-compliant and will not be acceptable for federal purposes such as boarding domestic flights starting Oct. 1, 2020. Minnesota driver’s license and ID cards issued prior to Oct. 1, 2018, are not REAL ID compliant. Standard driver’s license and ID cards issued after Oct. 1, 2018, are marked “not for federal identification.” A REAL ID is marked with a gold star and is optional. An enhanced driver’s license, enhanced ID card, passport or a passport card will be accepted for federal purposes after Oct. 1, 2020.
Federal enforcement and identification requirements

How to stay updated
Find Minnesota REAL ID information and resources at the state’s website: REALID.dps.mn.gov.

The DPS-DVS Facebook page will have information that can easily be shared.

A recent DPS Blog post has information to consider when deciding which license or ID card you need.

How to get help
  • For driver services questions (licenses, ID cards, driver compliance and exams) send an email to dvs.driverslicense@state.mn.us, 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 dvs.motor.vehicles@state.mn.us and include your full name, date of birth, and license plate or VIN number with your question.
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.

About Driver and Vehicle Services
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division (DVS) is responsible for driver testing, driver licensing and maintenance of driver records; driver evaluation and compliance; motor vehicle title and registration; commercial vehicle registration; motor vehicle dealer licensing and regulation; and enforcement of no-fault insurance requirements.

2018 Statistics:
  • 1.5 million driver’s license and ID cards issued.
  • 1.7 million titles issued.
  • 6.7 million vehicles registered.
  • DVS’ Public Information Center handled more than 1.4 million phone calls and 127,000 email correspondences. 


445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100 | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-5155 | dps.mn.gov