ST. PAUL — Minnesotans whose driver’s licenses or identification cards expire before October 2018 should plan to renew their cards as they normally would, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division (DPS-DVS). The optional REAL ID-compliant cards will not be available in Minnesota until October 2018.
If a Minnesotan renews his or her license between now and October 2018:
- The renewed license will be valid for four years, barring a suspension or revocation.
- They will be able to apply for a REAL ID once they are available in October.
- 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.
The cost for a REAL ID is the same as a standard driver’s license ($25.25) or ID card ($19.25).
The early renewal 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 17 months before expiration.
- $4 for a renewal 18-29 months before expiration.
- $6 for a renewal more than 29 months before expiration.
Early renewal examples
If someone with a February 2018 expiration on their driver’s license renews their license this month and then decides to obtain a REAL ID driver’s license in:
- December 2018 - they will pay $25.25 plus a $6 early renewal fee. Their new REAL ID would expire in February 2026.
- June 2020 - they will pay $25.25 plus a $4 early renewal fee. Their new REAL ID would expire in February 2026.
- January 2021 - they will pay $25.25 plus a $2 early renewal fee. Their new REAL ID would expire in February 2026.
REAL ID, Enhanced Driver’s License and Standard Driver’s License. What’s the difference?
Minnesotans can apply for a standard or enhanced driver’s license or ID card now and will have the option of applying for a REAL ID-compliant card in October 2018. Determining which type of license or ID card works best depends on what the card is needed 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.
After Oct. 10, 2018: While these cards will continue to be a valid form of identification, they will not be accepted for domestic air travel or access to federal facilities. Another form of identification, such as a valid passport 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 after Oct. 10, 2018: 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
After Oct. 10, 2018: When they become available in Minnesota, 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.
Additional information comparing these identification options can be found on Minnesota’s REAL ID website.
REAL ID Frequently Asked Questions
These are the top questions Minnesotans are asking DPS-DVS about REAL ID.
- Can a Minnesota resident use a basic driver’s license to board a domestic flight in a state that is already REAL ID compliant?
- Minnesotans can use their current driver’s licenses for federal purposes, including boarding commercial aircraft, through Oct. 10, 2018. You can use your Minnesota driver’s license to board domestic flights until that date no matter what state you're departing from.
- What is the process to obtain a REAL ID, and what forms of ID will be needed?
- Applying for a REAL ID-compliant card - when they are available in October - will require additional documentation compared to the requirements for a standard Minnesota driver’s license. DPS-DVS will provide additional information about these requirements in future updates.
- If I have an enhanced driver’s license, will I be required to get a REAL ID-compliant card?
- REAL IDs are optional. An enhanced driver’s license meets federal guidelines, so there would not be a need to get a REAL ID
Making progress on the new driver’s license system
DPS-DVS and Minnesota IT Services (MNIT) contracted with FAST Enterprises in November 2017 to develop a new driver services system that will produce REAL IDs beginning in October 2018.
- The project is currently on schedule.
- In late January, DPS-DVS, MNIT and FAST began demonstrating components of the system to internal and external users. There are 11 system demos scheduled for deputy registrars and driver’s license agents around the state in February and March.
- Testing scenario development is underway. The system will be run through about 6,000 user tests to make sure all types of driver service transactions function correctly.
- The training plan for driver’s license agents is complete: computer-based training in June, followed by classroom training late July through late September.
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
Current situation for Minnesotans
- While REAL ID enforcement for states without federal extensions began Jan. 22, Minnesotans do not need to take any action at this time.
- Minnesota has an extension for REAL ID enforcement, allowing Federal agencies to accept Minnesota driver's licenses and identification cards at federal facilities, nuclear power plants and federally regulated commercial aircraft until October 10, 2018.
- DPS-DVS will provide updates as the availability of REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards approaches.
How to stay updated
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.
Driver and Vehicle Services Highlights
- DVS 2017:
- 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.
- Web-based services include driver’s license status check, registration renewal (tabs), and test scheduling.