ST. PAUL — While there is no need to obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card for two years, Minnesotans will be able to apply for one next month. Once available, the cost will be the same as a standard card. An additional fee will be charged if a cardholder decides to renew their driver’s license or ID card before it expires.
Minnesotans do not need to take any action at this time to comply with the federal REAL ID law: their standard licenses and ID cards will be accepted for federal purposes, including boarding domestic flights, until October 1, 2020.
For licenses and ID cards that expire before October 1, 2018
Minnesotans should renew their driver’s license or ID card as they normally would. While they don’t need one for two years, they will have the option to obtain a REAL ID at a later date.
For licenses and ID cards that expire between October 1, 2018 and October 1, 2020
Cardholders can wait until their regular renewal date to apply for a REAL ID. There is no need to renew before the card expires because a standard driver’s license or ID card can still be used for federal purposes, including boarding domestic flights, until Oct. 1, 2020.
New driver’s license and ID applicants may also elect to apply for a REAL ID after October 1, 2018.
REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses or ID cards will cost Minnesotans the same as a standard driver’s license ($25.25) or ID card ($19.25).
For licenses and ID cards that expire after October 1, 2020
Cardholders may obtain a REAL ID-compliant card after October 1, 2018 and before their standard card expires for an additional fee.
The fee, set in Minnesota law, is 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 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.
Those who renew early will also have four years added to their original expiration date. So while an early renewal will cost a little more, Minnesotans who renew early will have their driver’s license or ID card valid for a longer period of time.
For example, if someone renews their standard license or ID card in September 2018 and then decides to obtain a REAL ID in:
- December 2018 – they will pay $25.25 plus a $6 early renewal fee. Their REAL ID would expire in September 2026.
- October 2020 – they will pay $25.25 plus a $4 early renewal fee. Their REAL ID would expire in September 2026.
- July 2021 – they will pay $25.25 plus a $2 early renewal fee. Their new REAL ID would expire in September 2026.
What will REAL ID look like?
REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards will look exactly like standard driver’s licenses and ID cards, with the addition of a gold star in the upper right corner. The star indicates the license meets minimum federal security standards established by Congress in 2005 under the REAL ID Act.
Enhanced driver’s licenses and ID cards, which can also be used to board domestic flights as well as to cross U.S. borders, will have a U.S. flag in the upper right corner.
Minnesotans will have options
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.
REAL ID not required until 2020
Minnesotans will be able to apply for a REAL ID-compliant card beginning October 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.
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 Frequently Asked Questions
These are the top questions Minnesotans are asking DPS-DVS about REAL ID.
- Do I need to get a REAL ID?
- REAL IDs are optional. A standard driver’s license or ID card will continue to be acceptable for driving and other identification purposes after REAL ID becomes available in October. After Oct. 1, 2020, a REAL ID, enhanced ID or passport will be required for those wanting to board domestic flights or enter federal facilities.
- Are the requirements the same for a REAL ID and an Enhanced Driver’s License or ID?
- Enhanced Driver’s Licenses (EDL) and Enhanced ID (EID) 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 EDLs and EIDs are REAL ID compliant and may also be used as border crossing documents when traveling by land or sea to Mexico, Canada and some Caribbean countries.
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 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.
- 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.