Real ID licenses go live on Monday: Here's what you need to know

Minnesota's driver's licenses and ID cards change on Oct. 1.
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On Monday, Minnesota's licensing system will undergo a radical change as for the first time it starts issuing Real ID-compliant driver's licenses and ID cards.

The state delayed complying with the federal Real ID rules for years, but ultimately could delay no longer and the new system goes live next week.

So what do you need to know about it? Here's your brief guide to the new ID cards.

Do I need to get one right away?

No. Minnesota driver's licenses and ID cards don't need to be Real ID cards until Oct. 1, 2020.

Until then, you can continue using your existing license and ID cards to board domestic flights and enter federal buildings. That ends two years from now.

And if your license doesn't need renewing for a while and your address isn't changing, you might want to wait before getting your new Real ID license to give the state time to work out any kinks in the new system.

You can still get a standard driving license if you so choose, just remember you won't be able to use it to fly domestic or enter federal buildings after fall 2020.

What do I need to bring?

To get a Real ID, you will need to bring more documents than you would for a standard license. Here's what you need to bring to a license bureau:

  • A document proving your identity, date of birth and legal presence in the U.S. (ie. a passport, birth certificate or Green Card).
  • Proof of your Social Security Number (like your SSN card or a W-2 form).
  • Two documents proving your residency in Minnesota, such as a credit card statement, utility bill or valid driver's license. You can find a full list here.

What if I want an enhanced driver's license?

Enhanced driver's licenses can be used in the same way as a Read ID license, but will also allow you to travel to Canada, Mexico and parts of the Caribbean without a passport.

The process is a little more onerous than a standard or Real ID applications, and will require applicants to complete an interview questionnaire. You also need to be a U.S. citizen to get one.

You can find the requirements for applying for an enhanced license right here.

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How much with the licenses cost?

A Real ID will cost the same as a standard driver's license does currently, $25.25. If you want a Real ID-compliant ID card, that'll be $19.25.

But if you apply for a Real ID before you current license expires, you'll have to pay an early renewal fee.

  • $2 for a renewal up to 17 months before expiration
  • $4 for a renewal 18-29 months before expiration
  • $6 for a renewal more than 29 months before expiration

If you want an enhanced license, that will cost you an extra $15.

Find out more

You can find more details on the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Real ID website.

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