Minnesota officials have asked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for another year to implement Real ID requirements and bring Minnesota driver’s licenses into compliance with upgraded federal security standards.
Gov. Mark Dayton signed Minnesota’s Real ID bill into law in May. The state was given a pass that allows residents to use their driver’s license or state ID card to enter federal buildings, military bases or nuclear power plants until Oct. 10 of this year. It will be required to go through airport security starting Jan. 22, 2018.
The state’s request to the DHS would extend those dates until Oct. 10, 2018.
The extension appears likely to be granted.
In a letter sent Monday to the Elaine Duke, acting secretary of DHS, Dayton outlined the steps that the state Department of Public Safety (DPS) has taken and those it still needs to take to comply with the Real ID Act.
“Minnesota has completed several tasks and … established a detailed timeline to complete the requisite steps to become fully compliant,” Dayton’s letter said.
Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses in many other states look similar to the licenses that don’t meet federal standards. They are differentiated, in some cases, only by a gold or black star in the top right hand corner of the license. Licenses in some noncompliant states — but not Minnesota — say, “Not for federal identification.”
Congress passed the Real ID Act in 2005 to set minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards — one of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. But the Minnesota DPS was prohibited from implementing or planning to implement Real ID until May because state lawmakers voted to defy the standard.
Minnesotans would not be required to get a new driver’s license before their current license expires, but can get a new one once the state has implemented the process.
Currently, 26 states and the District of Columbia meet federal standards. All of the remaining states have been granted an extension.
Pat Pheifer • 612-673-7252