Over the coming months, the State of Minnesota will be reminding residents that many of them may want to get their driver’s licenses updated.
In 2018, Minnesota began implementing REAL ID, an upgrade to the standard driver’s license or ID card that was part of the REAL ID Act of 2005. It was passed into law by Congress as a response to the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation of how to combat terrorism. The primary reason to have REAL ID or an enhanced license will be for those who travel by air or wish to enter a federal facility that requires identification, such as a military base or nuclear power plant.
When the conversion to REAL ID in Minnesota began Oct. 1, 2018, there was a two-year window given for full implementation. As of Oct. 1, 2020, standard driver’s licenses will no longer be accepted as proper identification to board a domestic flight or enter a federal facility. While a REAL ID or enhanced ID aren’t required, anyone who doesn’t have one will need to provide a passport as proof of their identity.
The difference between REAL ID and an enhanced ID is that an enhanced ID allows a bearer the ability to cross the U.S. border into Mexico or Canada by land or sea without the requirement of a passport. The enhanced ID comes with a cost of $47, as opposed to the $32 fee for a REAL ID or the current Class D standard license.
How this change pertains to local license bureaus is that, as the deadline gets closer, the wait time in DMV lines is likely going to get longer. Those who last renewed their licenses prior to Oct. 1, 2018, will have to get a new license if they want REAL ID or an enhanced license.
“We expect it to be much busier in 2020 than a typical year,” said Becky Aanerud, Wright County License Bureau supervisor. “Usually, people only need to come in every four years to renew their driver’s licenses. With the REAL ID deadline coming, there will be people from the two years before the changeover took place coming in as well as those whose licenses are set to expire.”
There has been a lot of confusion and frustration surrounding the documentation required for applying for REAL ID. Four documents are required. They are as follows:
One document proving identity, date of birth and legal presence in the United States. These would include a valid passport or a certified copy of a birth certificate (not the one issued by the hospital where someone was born).
A document proving your Social Security number. These include the physical Social Security card (not laminated), a federal tax form with a person’s name, address and SSN on it or a computer-printed U.S. employment pay stub with name, address and SSN.
Two documents proving residency in Minnesota. These include a valid current driver’s license or ID card, home utility bills, a bank account statement, a credit card statement, a Minnesota college ID card with a certified transcript of current attendance, an employment pay stub that includes the employer’s name, address and phone number, an insurance policy or a federal or state income tax return. Almost all of these documents can be no more than 90 days old and a post office box number is not accepted as an address.
Aanerud said that if any of the documentation is missing, the process of applying, which usually takes 20-30 minutes, can’t be completed. She added that there are other issues that will make the process more time-consuming for some women.
“If your name is different than the name on your birth certificate, you need to bring documentation to prove that,” Aanerud said. “If someone is married and changes her name to that of her husband, she needs to bring a marriage certificate to verify that. One of the common problems we run into is if someone has been married more than once, they need to provide documentation for each name change. If someone was married four times in her life, she has to bring documentation for each of those name changes.”
As of the end of November, only 9.7 percent of Minnesotans currently have REAL ID, which has those at license bureaus throughout the state expecting to see a significant increase in traffic volume. More information about REAL ID and enhanced licenses can be found at the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services website (https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/dvs/Pages/default.aspx).
With the long lines expected to get longer as the clock ticks down to the Oct. 1, 2020 deadline for the changes resulting from REAL ID to take effect, Aanerud said taking the time to make sure you have everything you need, including the use of the pre-application feature found on the DVS website, can make the process less frustrating.
“The key is to do your homework before you come in,” Aanerud said. “Nobody likes waiting in long lines and REAL ID is going to add to the number of people coming in over the next several months. The last thing you want to do is have to come in twice to get it done.”