MN driver's licenses now aren't enough to get into some military bases


A regular Minnesota driver's license will no longer grant access to several Department of Defense installations, the Minnesota National Guard announced.

The standard state-issued ID cards are now inadequate as identification due to the federal "Real ID Act," and the fact that the state currently isn't compliant with it.

Beginning this week, the installations in Minnesota that now limit access are:

  •  133rd Airlift Wing in St. Paul
  •  148th Fighter Wing in Duluth
  •  934th Joint Base in Minneapolis
  •  Military Facility at Fort Snelling

Minnesota license holders will need to have an approved escort to visit these facilities, as well as many nationwide. Other forms of identification, such as passports, are still accepted. U.S. military installations were already denying access to visitors as early as January of this year, reported.

Camp Ripley is unaffected by the federal law because it is a state-owned facility.

Minnesota and Real ID

Minnesota is one of just a few states that hasn’t already upgraded IDs to the national Real ID standards. But in March Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill passed by the House and Senate that should get state agencies on track to be compliant by 2018.

The bill authorized state officials to investigate how it will make its driver's licenses in line with the Real ID Act.

Had the legislature passed a compliance plan in time this spring, implementing Real ID in Minnesota by this fall could have cost up to $5.1 million.

If Minnesota waits until July 2017 to switch over, they can forego the cost of new cards and waiting until Jan. 2018 would save in cuts to both cards and training, according to the DPS report.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says programming computer systems alone would cost about $2 million.

Airports will be a problem soon too

While some people won't be able to get into military bases, the biggest impact – if Minnesota IDs don't get fixed – could be at airports.

The Department of Homeland Security says it will start enforcing Real ID standards at airports starting Jan. 22, 2018, meaning at that time, a current Minnesota driver's license or state ID won't be enough to get you on a domestic flight. Passengers without a Real ID compliant form of identification will have to bring another form of ID – such as a passport – with them to board.

If the state becomes Real ID compliant by that deadline however, it won't matter.

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