ST. PAUL — Minnesotans will be able to apply for REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards before the current extension expires on Oct. 10, 2018. The development of the new driver services system, which will be capable of issuing REAL IDs, is fully on schedule, according to FAST Enterprises, the company contracted to develop the new system.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division (DPS-DVS) is working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as this year’s Oct. 1 REAL ID rollout approaches.
While another extension beyond Oct. 10, 2018, is a possibility, DHS is currently not accepting state applications. If DHS decides Minnesota can apply for an extension and DPS-DVS applies, and DHS will determine if enough progress has been made to grant another extension and the length of the new extension.
Governor Dayton and DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen met in January to discuss Minnesota’s progress toward federal REAL ID compliance. The governor’s office and DPS-DVS are in regular communication with DHS to make sure Minnesota is meeting expectations and requirements for full compliance. If another extension is a possibility and necessary, DPS-DVS will take advantage of any assistance to help make the transition smooth for Minnesotans.
New System, New Features
The new driver services system, being developed by FAST Enterprises, will have new capabilities that the 30-year-old mainframe system would never have been able to provide.
One of these features will speed up Minnesotans’ office visits. DPS-DVS will launch the e-Services pre-application on Oct. 1, 2018, allowing Minnesotans to enter a significant portion of their application for a standard, enhanced or REAL ID-compliant driver’s license on their phone or computer before they step foot inside a driver’s license agent office.
What this means:
- Quicker office visits.
- Data entry error reduction.
- Increased privacy of customer data.
DPS-DVS will provide more details about this new system feature as October approaches.
REAL ID Frequently Asked Questions
These are the top questions Minnesotans are asking DPS-DVS about REAL ID.
- What if my driver’s license expires before October 2018?
- Minnesotans whose driver’s licenses or identification cards expire before October 2018 should plan to renew their cards as they normally would. When renewed 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. Fee information is available on the REAL ID website.
- If I apply for a REAL ID-compliant card and need to fly before I receive it, can I board a commercial aircraft by showing the receipt?
- No. A receipt is not the same as a REAL ID-compliant card and will not be accepted. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) lists other acceptable forms of identification for commercial flights onits website.
- If I’m out of state in October and want to apply for a REAL ID-compliant card, can I apply by mail?
- No. The first application for a REAL ID-compliant card must be submitted in person.
- Why do I have to pay an additional fee to renew early and get a REAL ID-compliant card?
- If you choose to renew your standard driver’s license early to obtain the optional REAL ID-compliant card when it becomes available in October, the extra fee is based on how early you renew. Your license is then renewed for four years out from its current expiration month and year, so that extra fee covers the additional years the license will be valid for. For example:
- If you renewed your license in June 2017, it would expire in June 2021. If you choose to renew that license early in October 2018, you will pay a $6 fee in addition to the standard license cost, and your new card will expire June 2025.
- Additional fee information can be found on the REAL ID FAQ webpage.
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.
- Development is complete for the DVS e-Services pre-application that will be released on Oct. 1, 2018. This allows Minnesotans to enter a significant portion of their application data for standard, enhanced or REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses on their phone or computer before visiting an office to finish the process.
- The FAST project team has begun demonstrating the system to driver’s license agents, DVS staff and deputy registrars around the state. There were four demos in February and are seven more scheduled for March.
- DVS system users had the opportunity to explore the new system in February and DVS testers are completing weekly unit testing tasks. This gives users hands-on experience to not only become familiar with the system but helps identify refinements in workflows and assures that this system meets the needs of users.
- FAST trainers are organizing 10 regional training sites statewide to make sure all driver’s license agents and deputy registrars have a convenient location to participate in training. Computer-based training begins 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 theDVS 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.