ST. PAUL — Minnesotans will see newly designed driver’s licenses and ID cards in the coming weeks as the state transitions from the current cards that were first issued in 2004.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division (DPS-DVS) will begin issuing the newly designed cards for applications or renewals processed on or after August 6.
Minnesotans do not need to obtain a new driver’s license or ID card unless their current card is expiring or they need to change their address or name. The current design and new design will be in circulation for the next four years, and both are valid forms of identification until they expire or are canceled. The cost for Minnesotans to apply for or renew a license will remain the same.
Cardholders will see some differences in the new design:
- The new cards feature the State of Minnesota branding and colors.
- Under 21 cards will be vertical, making it easier for businesses to identify those not able to make purchases that are prohibited to minors.
- Different color headings will identify instruction permits, commercial driver’s licenses and other card types.
The new cards have a variety of security features making them more difficult to forge including:
- A “ghost image” in the lower right corner is a repeat image of the cardholder’s portrait.
- A multi-colored and intricate background featuring the Mississippi River, a canoeist and a pine forest.
- An image of a walleye embedded into the card stock that can be observed by holding the card up to a light source.
The new design will be applied to all driver’s license and ID cards issued by the State of Minnesota, including REAL ID-compliant cards and the Enhanced Driver’s License and ID cards.
REAL IDs - Available October 2018, Not Required Until 2020
Minnesotans will be able to apply for a REAL ID-compliant card
in October 2018, 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 DPS-DVS during a compliance check-in earlier this year that the state was making the necessary progress to comply with the federal regulations.
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. Work to meet that deadline continues, 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.
REAL ID is a federal requirement that establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses. When available in October 2018, REAL ID will be one of three options for Minnesotans when they renew their driver’s license or ID card.
Information about REAL ID is available on the DPS website
Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) and Enhanced ID Card (EID)
The Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) and Enhanced ID Card (EID) are dual-purpose optional cards that allow Minnesotans to re-enter the U.S. at land and seaports when returning from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean. EDLs and EIDs were first made available to Minnesotans in February of 2014 and remain available for Minnesotans who chose that option. The new design will be applied to EDL and EID cards beginning in October.
More information about the EDL and from what countries Minnesotans can re-enter the U.S. is available on the DPS website
. EDLs are an acceptable form of identification to board an aircraft or enter a federal facility now and after October 2020.
What Minnesotans Need to Know
- There is no need to obtain a newly designed driver’s license or ID card.
- The current design and new design will be in circulation for the next four years, and both are valid forms of identification until they expire or are canceled.
- Minnesotans whose application or renewal is processed after August, 6, 2018 will receive the new look card.
- Minnesotans whose driver’s licenses or identification cards expire before October 2018 should plan to renew their cards as they normally would. The renewed license will be valid for four years, barring a suspension or revocation.
- Minnesotans do not need to take any action at this time to comply with the federal REAL ID law.
- Minnesotans will be able to apply for the optional REAL ID-compliant cards beginning October 1, 2018, but they will not be needed for federal purposes until October 1, 2020. That means that Minnesotans will have two years to obtain a REAL ID-compliant card.
- If they choose to apply for a REAL ID before their standard license expires, an early renewal fee would be charged and an additional four years would be added to the expiration date. Fee information is available on the REAL ID website.
- 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.
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.
Federal enforcement and identification requirements
- For more information on acceptable forms of identification for boarding aircraft, please see TSA’s website.
- Information from the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security.
How to stay up-to-date
- Find Minnesota REAL ID information and resources at the state’s website.
- 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.
- A recent DPS Blog post has information about if your license expires this summer.
How to get help
- For driver services questions (licenses, ID cards, driver compliance and exams) send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 email@example.com 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.