Focus on New Laws: Federal REAL ID Compliance

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is required to begin issuing REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses by Oct. 1, 2018, but that date could be extended.
(Published Aug 28, 2017)

A 2017 law, Chapter 76, brings Minnesota into compliance with the federal REAL ID law. The new law took effect on May 19.

Under the new law, Minnesotans can choose: (1) a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, which allows access to airports and federal facilities by providing greater documentation than currently required; (2) a non-compliant (standard) driver’s license, which wouldn’t allow access to airports and federal facilities; or (3) an enhanced driver’s license, which is currently available to Minnesotans.

The Department of Public Safety is required to begin issuing REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses by Oct. 1, 2018. This date could be extended if Gov. Dayton’s request for an extension for full compliance with the federal law is granted.

License renewal
The new law does not disrupt the normal renewal cycle for Minnesotans. For most Minnesotans, license renewal occurs every four years. No person is required to renew earlier. However, if someone would like to renew earlier to get a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, then there is a minimal surcharge of $2 to $6, depending on the length of time from their renewal year.

If a Minnesotan would like to apply for a REAL ID-compliant license, different documentation will be needed than for a standard driver’s license. The federal requirements include proof of identity, Social Security Number, and residence address in Minnesota.

REAL ID and standard driver’s licenses have the same fees (Class D is $17.25), but enhanced driver’s licenses continue to have higher fees (Class D is $32.25). All agents will be able to issue REAL ID-complaint, non-compliant, and enhanced driver’s licenses.

A provision in the 2017 Omnibus Public Safety Finance and Policy Act (Chapter 95, article 3, section 5) prohibits the Department of Public Safety from adopting rules that would conflict with current Minnesota Rules forbidding any type of driver’s license for undocumented immigrants.

Legislative background
The League’s policies support legislation that:

  • Complies with the federal REAL ID law.
  • Has REAL ID-compliant licenses available in convenient statewide locations.
  • Adjusts the cost of licenses if necessary to cover the cost of implementation.
  • Provides a transition period to allow Minnesotans to obtain a compliant license when they renew.
  • Allows a time extension for Minnesota compliance.

The above were either addressed in the new law or the governor’s request for an extension for full compliance.

Read the current issue of the Cities Bulletin

* By posting you are agreeing to the LMC Comment Policy.