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REAL ID Ready? Minnesotans Have Options

Feb 19, 2021 12:26PM ● By Editor
Image: MN DPS

From the Minnesota Department of Public Safety - February 18, 2021

The federal REAL ID full enforcement deadline is less than eight months away, and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division (DPS-DVS) wants Minnesotans to know their options, so they’re prepared on Oct. 1, 2021.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2021, Minnesotans will not be able to use their standard driver’s license or ID card to board domestic flights or enter federal facilities. Instead, they will need one of three options:
  1. A passport or passport card.
  2. A REAL ID.
  3. An enhanced driver’s license or ID.
The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) lists several other less-common forms of identification that are also acceptable for federal purposes. 

Those who aren’t sure which license type is right for them can use the online Help Me Choose a License/ID Type tool at

“Minnesotans who already have a passport or passport card have what they need to fly or enter federal facilities now and after Oct. 1, 2021,” Driver and Vehicle Services Director Emma Corrie said. “Those who don’t plan on flying this year may choose to wait and apply for a REAL ID at a later time. The important thing to know is there are options, and we want to make sure Minnesotans are informed and prepared.”

Apply for a REAL ID
A REAL ID is optional. Minnesotans may apply for a REAL ID when they renew their license or ID card or apply for a REAL ID early for an additional fee. 

Those who choose to apply for a REAL ID or enhanced driver’s license or ID card are strongly encouraged to pre-apply online at before completing the application process in person at a DVS exam station, deputy registrar or driver’s license office. 

Federal and Minnesota laws require a person submit their original required documents, pass a vision screening and have a new photo taken to complete their application.

Pre-applying online at is the best way to make sure applicants have everything they need before they visit a driver’s license office. This feature allows Minnesotans to enter a significant portion of their application online, reducing the time they spend in the office. It also lists the required documents for each license type so applicants can have all necessary documents ready when they visit their local office.

Renew Early
Any eligible Minnesotan can apply for a REAL ID now, but there is a fee in addition to the standard cost of the license or ID card. It depends on how early you renew. 
  • $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
When renewing early, four years will be added to the license or ID card’s original expiration date, so while an early renewal will cost a little more, the license or ID card will be valid for a longer period of time. The early renewal option is only for those who renewed their Minnesota driver’s license or ID card before REAL IDs were available on Oct. 1, 2018. Their licenses must also expire after the full enforcement date of Oct. 1, 2021. 

REAL ID Resources
DPS-DVS has a variety of resources online at The latest resources include an updated video outlining what Minnesotans need to do to be REAL ID ready by Oct. 1, 2021. The video is also available with Hmong, Spanish and Somali captioning. 

REAL ID Airport Office
The REAL ID Airport Office accepts REAL ID applications Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. by appointment only. Minnesotans can schedule their appointment for the day they fly out of MSP Terminal 1 online at They must:
  • Be a ticketed passenger at MSP Terminal 1 for the day they schedule their appointment.
  • Be a current Minnesota resident. 
  • Hold and bring a valid Minnesota driver’s license, permit or state ID. If expired, it must have expired less than one year ago.
  • Complete the online pre-application. Visit to pre-apply.
  • Be eligible for a REAL ID and bring all required documents. 
  • Bring a valid credit card for payment. 
REAL ID Required Documents
Minnesotans are required to provide additional documentation when applying for a REAL ID, compared to a standard driver’s license or ID card.

A person must provide the following in person when applying:
  • One document proving identity, date of birth and legal presence in the United States.
    • ​If the name on the identity document is not the same as a person's current name, a name change document must be submitted.
  • One document proving social security number.
    • ​If you have not updated your name change with the Social Security Administration, you must do so prior to applying for a Real ID.
  • Two different documents proving current residency in Minnesota. 
    • ​Must have applicant’s current legal name and current address in Minnesota. A P.O. Box will not suffice as proof of current residency in Minnesota.
Applicants must provide original documents or documents certified by the agency that issued them. DPS-DVS cannot accept laminated documents or digital documents shown on your phone or other electronic device. A full list of accepted documentation is on the REAL ID website

REAL ID Scoreboard
As of Jan. 31, there are a total of: 
  • 602,493 Minnesota REAL ID driver’s license and ID card holders. 
  • 406,229 Minnesota enhanced driver’s license and ID card holders. 
  • 3,855,004 Minnesota standard driver’s license and ID card holders.
That brings the total number of Minnesotans who are REAL ID ready to 1,008,722, or 20.74 percent of Minnesota driver’s license and identification card holders. That’s up from:
  • 20.16 percent on Dec. 31, 2020.
  • 19.56 percent on Nov. 30, 2020.
  • 18.37 percent on Sept. 30, 2020.
  • 16.76 percent on July 31, 2020.
  • 15.08 percent on May 31, 2020.
  • 14.96 percent on March 31, 2020.
  • 10.72 percent on Jan. 1, 2020.
  • 8.91 percent on Nov. 1, 2019.
  • 7.8 percent on Sept. 27, 2019.
Track Minnesota’s progress online at  
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