As the state of Minnesota prepares to roll out the new REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses and ID cards, residents should be prepared to wait longer for theirs to arrive.
The Minnesota Department of Vehicle Services has confirmed that its temporary licenses, the yellow paper you get whenever you apply for a new driver's license or renew it, will now be valid for four months instead of the usual two.
It's doing this, it says, "to ensure the best possible customer service for Minnesotans as we approach the implementation of REAL ID."
The change shouldn't affect anyone renewing their license under the current, soon-to-be-phased out system, DVS spokesman Bruce Gordon told Bring Me The News, as these should still take around 2 weeks to arrive.
But it will affect anyone applying for licenses that comply with federal REAL ID guidelines, which become available for the first time in Minnesota on October 1.
Every Minnesotan will need one of these licenses or ID cards by Oct. 1, 2020, if they want to use them to get on domestic flights or enter federal building. Until then, you can still use your existing license.
Gordon says the extended temporary license period went into effect two weeks ago as it seeks to give its staff more time to process the new licenses.
"DVS is taking these measures to ensure that any increased workload at the department, influx of customers, or other unforeseen circumstances do not inconvenience Minnesotans or driver’s license agents," the DVS said in a statement.
"Extending the time yellow receipts are valid will ensure that applicants will not have to obtain an extension stamp if they do not receive their cards within 60 days."
KSTP obtained an internal DVS memo that says the department is already experiencing longer processing times for some licenses ahead of the rollout. People have been able to apply for REAL ID-compliant licenses since Aug. 6.