REAL ID and License Renewal: There’s Still Time for Your Residents

October 12, 2020

Cities can let their residents know that deadlines for REAL ID and license renewals have been extended due to COVID-19.

We can all agree that 2020 has been a challenging year for various reasons. So, it’s possible residents in your community haven’t had time (or haven’t been able) to visit a deputy registrar or driver’s license agent office and renew their driver’s license, let alone apply for a REAL ID.

Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended the deadline for a year to Oct. 1, 2021. After that date, Minnesotans won’t be able to use their standard driver’s license to board domestic flights or enter federal facilities. Instead, they’ll need a REAL ID, enhanced driver’s license or ID card, or a passport. (See a list of other forms of identification that can be used for federal purposes.)

Renewing licenses and ID cards

For residents that have a license or ID card that expires during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency or the month after it ends, they will have more time to renew. Gov. Tim Walz signed two bills into law that extend the expiration dates.

That means that if a license or ID card expires between March 13 and Nov. 30, it doesn’t have to be renewed until Dec. 31. It’s important for residents to understand, though, that they won’t get a new card showing the new expiration date, but their Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) record will reflect it.

Residents can also renew their standard driver’s license or ID card online at as long as they don’t need to change their name, address, license number or signature.

Applying for REAL ID

Because REAL ID applications require additional documents, they need to be done in person — but using the online pre-application tool can save time in the office and generate a list of the exact documents necessary to complete the application in person.

There is a complete list on the DVS website of what they’ll need to bring with them, but below is a brief list. Note that digital documents (shown on a phone, for example) won’t be accepted, so remind applicants to bring original paper documents along, and be sure they aren’t laminated. They’ll need:

  • One document proving identity, date of birth, and legal presence in the U.S.
    • If the name on their identity document is not the same as their current name, they’ll need to provide a name change document.
  • One document proving their Social Security number.
    • Citizens need to update any name changes with the Social Security Administration prior to applying for a REAL ID.
  • Two different documents proving current residency in Minnesota.

For more information, contact Megan Leonard, DVS, at

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