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Ask A Trooper: REAL ID and driver's license process explained

Question: Can you explain the new Real ID and Driver's License process in Minnesota?

Answer: REAL ID is a federal requirement that establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards. Minnesota has a few identification options from which residents may choose. Determining which type of license or ID card works best depends on what a person needs to use the card for.

Minnesota Standard Driver's License or ID card 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 until Oct. 1, 2020.

Beginning October 1, Minnesotans will be able to apply for a REAL ID-compliant card, but they will have two years to obtain one if they choose. A new driver's services system capable of issuing them will go live on Oct. 1.

That means Minnesotans will be able to use their standard licenses and ID cards for federal purposes, including boarding domestic flights, until Oct. 1, 2020.

Since there is no need to obtain a REAL ID at this time, state officials are suggesting that residents wait to apply unless they need to change their name or address, or renew their current license. This will help ease the transition to the new card and reduce wait times.

A pre-application feature will allow Minnesotans to enter a significant portion of their driver's license or ID card application online — including REAL ID applications - reducing the time spent in driver's license offices. An online tool to help Minnesotans decide which of the state's three license options best meets their needs: a standard driver's license or ID card, a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card, or an Enhanced Driver's License (EDL) or ID card (EID).

For additional information and what documents you will need to bring with you, go to:

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow — Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at,