ST. PAUL — Minnesotans will be able to apply for a REAL ID-compliant card beginning next month, but they will have two years to obtain one if they choose.
That means Minnesotans will be able to use their standard licenses and ID cards for federal purposes, including boarding domestic flights, until October 1, 2020.
The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) informed the Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division (DPS-DVS) during a compliance check-in earlier this year that the state was making the necessary progress to comply with federal regulations.
Since there is no need to obtain a REAL ID at this time, state officials are suggesting that residents wait to apply unless they need to change their name or address, or renew their current license. This will help ease the transition to the new card and reduce wait times.
REAL ID is a federal requirement that establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards.
Driver’s license, identification card options
Minnesota has a few identification options from which residents may choose. Determining which type of license or ID card works best depends on what a person needs to use the card for.
- Minnesota Standard Driver’s License or ID Card
Now: These can be used as a valid form of identification and for lawful driving privileges. These cards are also an acceptable form of ID for domestic air travel and to access federal facilities.
Beginning October 1, 2020: While these cards will continue to be a valid form of identification and driving privileges, they will not be accepted for domestic air travel or access to federal facilities. Another form of identification, such as a valid passport, REAL ID or Enhanced Driver’s License, will be required for air travel or access to federal facilities.
- Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) or Enhanced ID Card (EID)
Now and beginning October 1, 2020: In addition to being a valid form of identification and indicating lawful driving privileges, EDLs and EIDs can be used as a border crossing document to re-enter the U.S. by land and sea from Canada, Mexico, and some countries in the Caribbean. They can also be used for domestic air travel and to access federal facilities, and are only issued to U.S. citizens. Learn more on the DPS-DVS website.
- REAL ID-Compliant Driver’s License or ID Card
Beginning October 1, 2020: REAL ID-compliant cards will be an accepted form of identification for domestic air travel and to access federal facilities. These cards can be used as a valid form of identification and for lawful driving privileges. These cards cannot be used as border crossing documents. Learn more on the state’s REAL ID website: REALID.dps.mn.gov.
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.
REAL ID in Minnesota
The Minnesota Legislature passed a law that directs DPS-DVS to make REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards available by Oct. 1, 2018. The state is on track to meet that deadline, even though the federal government won’t require driver’s licenses and IDs to be REAL ID-compliant until Oct. 1, 2020. DPS-DVS and Minnesota IT Services (MNIT) contracted with FAST Enterprises to develop a new driver services system that will produce REAL IDs.
Federal enforcement and identification requirements
- For more information on acceptable forms of identification for boarding aircraft, please see TSA’s website.
- Please check with individual federal facilities regarding their requirements.
- Information from the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security:
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 email@example.com, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
The Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) is a multi-year project sponsored by the Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services Division (DVS). It replaces the division’s 30-year-old information technology system with one that will meet the needs and expectations of the division’s customers, employees and business partners.
- More than 1.6 million driver’s license and ID cards issued.
- More than 1.6 million titles issued.
- More than 5.4 million vehicles registered.
- DVS’ Public Information Center handled more than 1.2 million phone calls and 110,000 email correspondences.