With the deadline to be REAL ID ready less than a year away, state officials are encouraging Minnesotans who apply for a REAL ID to use the online pre-application tool before they visit their local driver’s license office to ensure they have all of the required documents.

Every air traveler 18 years of age or older will need a REAL ID, enhanced driver’s license or ID, passport or passport card or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States or enter federal facilities beginning Oct. 1, 2020.

A standard Minnesota driver’s license will not be accepted for federal use as of that date, but it will still be a valid form of identification and valid for lawful driving privileges.

Approximately 9.72 percent of Minnesota driver’s license and identification card holders are currently REAL ID ready. That’s up from 7.8 percent at the end of September 2019.

“Applying for a REAL ID requires more documentation than Minnesotans are used to providing when renewing their standard driver’s license or ID card,” said Emma Corrie, Minnesota Department of Public Safety driver and vehicle services director. “We know this can be confusing, and we don’t want people making multiple trips to an office to complete their REAL ID application. That’s why DVS launched the pre-application tool with the new driver services system last year.”

The online pre-application feature allows Minnesotans to enter a significant portion of their driver’s license or ID card application from a computer or smartphone. The tool also includes a list of required documents for each license type to help applicants have all necessary documents ready when they visit a driver’s license office.

There isn’t one particular item Minnesotans are forgetting when they arrive at a driver’s license office to apply for a REAL ID. 

Some of the more common issues include:

• Bringing in one document providing Minnesota residency. Two different documents proving current Minnesota residency are required, and they must include the applicant’s current name and address.

• Not providing adequate proof of name changes when the name on their documents doesn’t match their current legal name. A person must show proof of all name changes. These documents include certified marriage certificates, certified divorce decrees or a certified court order specifying the name change. Minnesotans are required to provide additional documentation when they are 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. Applicants must provide original documents or documents certified by the agency that issued them. Laminated documents will not be accepted. Digital documents shown on your phone or other electronic device will also not be accepted.

A list of accepted documentation is on the REAL ID Web site.

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.

More information can be found online at REALID.dps.mn.gov, via e-mail at dvs.driverslicense@state.mn.us or by calling (651) 297-3298.

– Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety