ST. PAUL — Minnesotans will be able to get REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards next year under a law signed by Gov. Dayton this week.
The law now allows the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services (DPS-DVS) to begin the process of meeting the requirements of the federal REAL ID Act. DPS was prohibited from implementing any provision of the federal regulations under previous laws.
The new law requires DPS-DVS to begin issuing licenses by Oct. 1, 2018.
No action required at this time
A REAL ID compliant driver’s license or ID won’t be available until next year, so there is nothing for card holders to do at this time. And there is no need to get a new license unless it’s time to renew an expiring license. If a driver’s license expires before October 2018, individuals will renew in same way they do today.
The current situation
Minnesotans can continue to use their current driver’s license as a form of identification to board domestic flights until Jan. 22, 2018.
Minnesotans who plan to visit federal facilities, nuclear power plants and military bases will need to show an alternative form of ID in addition to their state driver’s license. Contact the agency in charge of the location you plan to visit to confirm what alternative forms of ID are accepted.
With the passage of this law, Gov. Dayton today requested an extension
from the federal government that “would allow Minnesota's current licenses to be used for all federal purposes, while we complete the steps necessary to provide REAL ID compliant licenses to Minnesota citizens.” This would allow current Minnesota licenses and IDs to again be accepted at federal facilities and to be used for boarding commercial flights after January 2018.When REAL ID compliant cards are available
Once REAL ID compliant cards are available, Minnesotans may choose a REAL ID compliant card or a non-compliant card when they renew or apply for a new license or ID.
Because of when their driver’s license expires, some people may choose to renew their license early in order to get a REAL ID compliant card once they become available. In that case, an extra charge will cover the additional months that the license is valid and extend the expiration date on the driver’s license.
What DPS-DVS will do now
DPS-DVS will begin the process to meet the requirements of the REAL ID Act and the timeline outlined in the state law. This includes working with the Dept. of Homeland Security to ensure compliance with the federal regulations and making changes to the DVS computer system.
What about an Enhanced Driver’s License?
An enhanced driver’s license (EDL) or enhanced identification card (EID) are among the federally-approved border-crossing documents required under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). EDLs and EIDs allow re-entry into the United States via land and sea from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean. According to the Dept. of Homeland Security
, they are also acceptable for official federal purposes such as accessing a federal facility or boarding a commercial aircraft. Individual agency policies may still apply.
Minnesota residents are able to apply for an EDL or EID for $15 in addition to the standard driver’s license fee. Additional information and requirements are listed on the DVS website
REAL ID background
Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards. States have made considerable progress in meeting this key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission and every state has a more secure driver’s license today than before the passage of the Act.
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.
Driver and Vehicle Services Highlights
- DVS 2016:
- More than 1.8 million driver’s license and ID cards issued
- More than 1.4 million titles issued
- More than 7 million vehicles registered
- DVS’ Public Information Center handled more than million phone calls and 80,000 email correspondences.
Web-based services include driver’s license status check, registration renewal (tabs), and test scheduling.