Minnesotans seeking driver's licenses in Lakeville and Moorhead will have the option starting this fall to get them the same day through a pilot program that will have some licenses printed immediately on site.

If the program — paid for with $2.4 million from the state — is successful, it could eventually end the practice of carrying an old, expired license and paperwork proving a new license is on the way. The typical wait for a new license now is four to six weeks.

The pilot, starting in October, will include same-day printing of standard Minnesota driver's licenses, instructional permits and state IDs. REAL IDs and enhanced licenses or IDs will still come by mail.

"We love our folks at the DMV, but sometimes we wonder, 'Could this process be made easier? Could it be made more efficient?' " said Sen. Zach Duckworth, R-Lakeville, who co-authored the legislation for the pilot.

Other states have had the same-day process in place for a while, he said.

Minnesota officials have consulted with North Dakota, which issues same-day licenses, as it plans the pilot, said Kasha McLay, Dakota County director of service and license centers.

"We like to be innovative and responsive and we like to provide efficient customer service, and that's exactly what this pilot will do," McLay said.

The pilot follows the trend of speeding up services whenever possible, said Pong Xiong, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's director of driver and vehicle services.

"Definitely, the [customers'] expectation of those timelines is shrinking," Xiong said.

But the project is challenging because it changes the license process, which has always involved the cheaper option of contracting with an outside vender to print the cards, Xiong said.

The offices hosting the pilot will install special printers that can print an overlay on top of the card's security features, Xiong said, noting the cards will look mostly the same.

License offices participating in the pilot will also need to boost security, which is "really critical," Xiong said.

In Lakeville, Dakota County will add new security cameras, a glass barrier that runs the length of the counter and interior doors by the lobby and camera station that require card access, at a cost of $73,950.

"We're going to be having a lot of equipment and inventory that needs to be protected. Because of that we want to make sure that access ... is restricted and controlled," Xiong said.

Preparations will be similar in Moorhead, he said.

Xiong said there's been "a lot of energy" and excitement around the pilot, largely because of the convenience factor for drivers — who no longer will have to carry an old license and yellow papers.

But there are no plans to print anything other than the standard licenses yet in Minnesota. In some states, the REAL IDs that require extra security checks have pushed systems away from same-day printing.

Illinois, for instance, no longer hands out same-day licenses because it only issues REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses. States like Wisconsin and Iowa take anywhere from 10 to 21 days to mail out a license.

A report on the pilot program is due to the state in January 2024, Xiong said.

Duckworth noted that people can use the Lakeville driver's license office even if they're not from Lakeville. He said he believes a lot of new, "super-excited" drivers will take advantage of the same-day option.

"If it's a worthy cause, people like it and it's effective, well, then we can begin to make a larger investment carried out across the state," Duckworth said.