OOC Logo

Office of Communications

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

DPS Logo

Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement

Bureau of Criminal Apprehension

Driver and Vehicle Services

Emergency Communication Networks

Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Minnesota State Patrol

Office of Communications

Office of Justice Programs

Office of Pipeline Safety

Office of Traffic Safety

State Fire Marshal


Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
Bruce Gordon  651-201-7171
September 26, 2018
New Driver's License System Able to Issue REAL IDs on Oct. 1
New system includes online pre-application, ability to issue REAL IDs

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 — While Minnesotans won’t need to obtain a REAL ID for two years, a new driver’s services system capable of issuing them will go live on Oct. 1, 2018. The new system, developed by FAST Enterprises, provides a modern platform that will allow the Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division (DPS-DVS) to improve business processes that would not have been possible on the current 30-year-old mainframe. 

Highlights of the new system include:
  • A pre-application feature that will allow Minnesotans to enter a significant portion of their driver’s license or ID card application online – including REAL ID applications - reducing the time spent in driver’s license offices. The online feature, which will also be available on mobile devices, will include the list of required documents for each license type so applicants can have all necessary documents ready when they visit a driver’s license office. 
  • An online tool to help Minnesotans decide which of the state’s three license options best meets their needs: a standard driver’s license or ID card, a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card, or an Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) or ID card (EID).
Both new tools will be available on the DPS website, beginning Oct. 1.

To ensure the transition to the new system is as smooth as possible, DVS has provided extensive training to internal staff and driver’s license agents throughout Minnesota. In addition:
  • DVS has been testing the system both internally and with driver’s license agents across the state for the past five months.
  • FAST representatives will be stationed at driver’s license offices throughout Minnesota to assist agents during the first two weeks of October.
  • DVS supervisory staff will be deployed to sites in each region as the system goes live.

Wait to apply for a REAL ID!
The system will be ready to accept applications for REAL ID beginning Oct. 1, but there is no need to rush to obtain one. A standard license or ID card will be accepted for federal purposes, including boarding domestic flights, until Oct. 1, 2020. 

To help reduce wait times, state officials are suggesting residents wait to apply unless they need to change their name or address or renew their current license. 

Applicants should also be sure to have all required documentation with them at the time of application; a list of required documents for all three Minnesota driver’s license and ID options can be found at REALID.dps.mn.gov

The new pre-application feature on the DPS website (beginning Oct.1) will also include the list of documents for each license and will allow applicants to provide a significant amount of information online before they arrive at a driver’s license agent office. 

Driver’s license agent offices will have limited services Sept. 28 and 29
Some services will not be available at driver’s license agent offices on Friday, Sept. 28, and Saturday, Sept. 29, as they transition to the new driver’s license system. As a result, some offices may close completely, while other offices may offer limited services on those days related to motor vehicles only. Residents are encouraged to call ahead to find out which offices will be open for those services.

REAL ID not required until 2020
Minnesotans will be able to apply for a REAL ID-compliant card beginning Oct. 1, 2018, but they will have two years to obtain one if they choose. That means that 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.

REAL ID Frequently Asked Questions
These are the top questions Minnesotans are asking DPS-DVS about REAL ID.
  • What will a REAL ID cost?
    • A REAL ID will cost the same as a standard driver’s license ($25.25) or ID card ($19.25). Fees will apply for early renewals depending on how many months the REAL ID is obtained before a person’s driver’s license or ID card expires.
      • $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
  • 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 a REAL ID. 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 after Oct. 1, 2020. A REAL ID is optional; a passport will also be accepted for federal purposes after that date.
​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.

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. 
  • 1.65 million driver’s license and ID cards issued.
  • 1.7million titles issued.
  • 6 million vehicles registered.
  • DVS’ Public Information Center handled more than 1.2 million phone calls and 110,000 email correspondences. 

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