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Deadline extended: Minnesotans have another 19 months to get a REAL ID

The federal government has extended the deadline the Oct. 1, 2021, deadline to May 2023 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal government has extended the REAL ID full enforcement deadline, which is good news for procrastinating Minnesotans. 

The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) full enforcement deadline for REAL ID — meaning people wouldn't be able to fly or enter federal facilities with anything other than a passport/passport card, REAL ID or enhanced driver's license — was Oct. 1, 2021. 

But now, DHS has extended that full enforcement deadline by 19 months to May 3, 2023, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a news release says. 

This gives Minnesotans an extra 18 months to get a REAL ID or enhanced driver's license if they don't want to travel with their passport. 

DHS says the pandemic has "significantly impacted" states' ability to issue REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses and ID cards as many licensing agencies operate at limited capacity. 

“Protecting the health, safety, and security of our communities is our top priority,” DHS Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a statement. “As our country continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, extending the REAL ID full enforcement deadline will give states needed time to reopen their driver’s licensing operations and ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card.” 

The agency "will publish an interim final rule in the coming days to effectuate this enforcement date change," the release notes.

As of March 11, more than 635,500 Minnesotans had REAL IDs, more than 424,300 had enhanced IDs and more than 3.79 million had a standard driver's license or ID. 

Getting a REAL ID requires more documents than what's required for a standard license, including one that proves your identity, date of birth and legal presence in the U.S.; one that proves your social security number; and two that prove your current residency in Minnesota. 

For more information on getting a REAL ID in Minnesota and how to apply, click here

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