As a commissioner of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, it is my job to make sure that you have the best possible experience at our seven regional airports, including Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP). That’s going to become significantly more difficult if the Minnesota Legislature does not pass a Real ID bill this year.
In 2005, Congress issued minimum security standards for the types of IDs that will be required to pass through security at U.S. airports after Jan. 22, 2018. Minnesota’s current driver’s licenses are not in compliance with these standards. If legislation is not passed to bring them into compliance, Minnesotans will soon require a second form of ID to pass through airport security.
MSP is the 16th-busiest airport in the country. I know all too well how chaotic the airport will be for the 34 million people who fly out of MSP each year if Real ID isn’t passed. Air travel can be stressful even without this added complication. Simply passing a Real ID bill that makes the basic Minnesota driver’s license Real ID-compatible would prevent a great deal of frustration and confusion. Our neighbors in Wisconsin, Iowa and South Dakota already issue Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses.
In the event that Minnesota doesn’t comply, here are a few Real ID-compliant IDs for Minnesotans who want to avoid the headaches and be prepared for the new requirements:
• Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL): EDLs are Real ID-compliant, and you can apply for one at any time, including when you renew your driver’s license. Not all driver licensing locations offer EDL service, and they require additional documentation requirements (as well as an additional $15 fee). More information can be found at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Driver and Vehicle Services Division website (https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/dvs/Pages/default.aspx).
• Global Entry: Global Entry is a program sponsored by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It uses automation and biometric information to speed up entry back into the U.S. The fee is $100 for five years and concurrently enrolls you in the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) pre-check program. For more information about Global Entry, visit www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry. The Global Entry card is Real ID-compliant and can be used as your ID at the airport security screening area.
• Passports: Traditional passports are also a Real ID-compliant form of identification. If you’d rather not carry your full passport for domestic travel, you can also apply for a passport card. While the passport card is not valid for entry and exit to most countries (for that you need your traditional passport book), the card can serve as your federal ID for airport screening purposes. More information about passports and passport cards is available at https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html.
I am constantly seeking to make air travel out of the Twin Cities more pleasant and convenient. I hope the Minnesota Legislature and the governor will join me in that work by passing a Real ID bill and signing it into law this session.
Rick King is a member of the Metropolitan Airports Commission representing District B and is the chief information officer at Thomson Reuters in Eagan.