Senator David Tomassoni Provides Update on REAL ID

St. Paul, Minn. – Minnesotans should be able to use their standard driver’s license or identification cards for domestic air travel or access to federal facilities until 2020 since the state is on-track to issue REAL ID-compliant cards later this year.

The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) informed the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division (DPS-DVS) during a quarterly REAL ID compliance check-in that the state was making the necessary progress to comply with the federal regulations.

Governor Dayton and DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen met in January in Washington, DC, to discuss Minnesota’s progress toward federal REAL ID compliance and the next extension request cycle. Minnesota currently has an extension for REAL ID enforcement until October 10, 2018. While DHS is currently not accepting state applications at this time, DHS informed DPS-DVS the state may request an extension from enforcement later this year, to bridge the gap between when Minnesota begins issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses and ID cards and when DHS approves the state’s compliance certification. Minnesota has been working closely with DHS to achieve full compliance with all REAL ID requirements by this coming October. This means that Minnesotans will be able to use their current licenses and ID cards for federal purposes until October 1, 2020.

“The Range Regional Airport is a vital transportation artery that northern Minnesota depends on to keep industry competitive and put paychecks in people’s pockets,” said Senator David Tomassoni (DFL-Chisholm) in response to the news from DPS-DVS. “I am pleased that folks who make use of this infrastructure received more certainty and clarity about their ability to travel and do business.”

REAL IDs available in October

The Minnesota legislature passed a law that directs the 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 two years later on 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.

Minnesotans will have options: REAL ID, Enhanced Driver’s License and Standard Driver’s License.

Minnesotans can continue to 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. 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.

Beginning October 1, 2020: 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 beginning October 1, 2020: 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

Beginning October 1, 2020: When they become available in Minnesota this year, 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.

What Minnesotans need to know

  • 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.
  • Minnesotans should renew their driver’s licenses or identification cards as they normally would. The renewed license will be valid for four years, barring a suspension or revocation.
  • If a Minnesotan chooses 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 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.

How to stay updated

  • 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.
Senator David Tomassoni
David Tomassoni represents District 6, which includes portions of Itasca and St. Louis counties in the northeastern part of the state.

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