Real ID was really ready for Minnesotans on Monday.
Hundreds of people lined up on the first day possible to apply for the fortified IDs required by the federal government in the aftermath of 9/11.
Minnesota is one of the last states to switch. Years of partisan politics at the Capitol kept the state from shifting to the new IDs. Given the rocky road, the rollout Monday was relatively smooth, according to numerous state officials at a morning news conference. They reported no serious issues.
"Please be patient. It's a new system. Even with all of the training and all of the testing, it will still take some time to become proficient," said Mona Dohman, Department of Public Safety commissioner.
The IDs are available at 170 offices across the state with driver's license agents as well as exam stations.
But officials say those who can wait should wait so that staff can get accustomed to the new system. Real ID won't be required until Oct. 1, 2020. Until then, a standard license or ID will be accepted for federal purposes, including boarding domestic flights.
To minimize wait times, state officials also encouraged residents to begin their applications online, where they can also find out what type of identification they need to bring in person and determine the ID that is best for them. The new online feature is also available on mobile devices.
Minnesota now has three identification card options. Regular driver's licenses will continue to be acceptable for lawful driving, but not for federal facilities in two years. A second form of identification will be required for such purposes after that date.
An enhanced driver's license or ID can be used for driving and as a valid ID for border crossing by land and sea from Canada, Mexico and some Caribbean countries. These can also be used for domestic air travel and access to federal facilities. Enhanced IDs cost an extra $15.
Real ID cards will be acceptable for domestic air travel and access to federal facilities. The cards can't be used to cross borders.
As of midafternoon Monday, the state had issued 4,404 standard driver's licenses and IDs, 711 Real IDs and 299 enhanced Minnesota driver's licenses and identification cards, according to Dawn Olson, Driver and Vehicle Services director.
Some 100 Minnesotans went online Sunday to fill out the pre-applications, she said.
Like Dohman, Olson said, "Please be patient and wait until you need to come in."
The Real ID option rolled out two months after the state revamped driver's licenses that now feature a canoeist on the Mississippi River. Also at that time, the state, for the first time, started issuing vertical cards to those younger than 21. Minnesota was one of the last states to shift to vertical IDs for the under 21 crew.
If someone applies for a Real ID-compliant driver's license in advance of the expiration date for their current identification, they will have to pay an additional fee on top of the $25.25 standard charge for a new license. The fee will range from $2 to $6, depending how far they are from the expiration date. An additional four years would be added to the expiration date.
The Real IDs will look almost identical to the new Minnesota cards but will include the outline of a star in a yellow circle at the top right.