State officials are aiming to get Minnesotans the new driver’s licenses they need to comply with the federal Real ID law by October, but the state could end up requesting another yearlong extension, Gov. Mark Dayton wrote in a letter to legislators Thursday.
Minnesota is on track to meet the deadline, the DFL governor wrote in response to a letter from two Republican state representatives. The legislators had urged the administration to get another extension if the state’s contractor cannot issue Real ID-compliant licenses by October.
Dayton replied that he had talked with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in January, and she said the department was not accepting states’ requests for extensions at that time. Once the department starts accepting the requests, Dayton said state officials will assess their progress toward getting Minnesotans new identification cards.
“If we do request an extension, I expect it will be for the purpose of distributing the new cards throughout the population,” he wrote to lawmakers.
State IDs and driver’s licenses do not meet the Real ID federal security standards, and Minnesota has already gotten an extension to upgrade the cards. Since Dayton spoke with Nielsen, the state has received more information from homeland security. The agency said if states meet certain criteria, such as continued progress toward the Real ID requirements, their extension could be renewed.
“Once your state confirms that it has begun issuing compliant documents, DHS will likely grant an extension,” which would give Minnesota time to go through DHS’s compliance and review process, the agency said. Without an extension, as of Jan. 22 airline passengers need to show an alternate from of ID such as a passport, according to the agency.