A year from now, Minnesotans ages 18 and older will need more than a standard state driver’s license to board a domestic flight. They’ll need a Real ID or other federally approved identification.
Without it, travelers will not be allowed through security checkpoints and will be denied boarding beginning Oct. 1, 2020.
“That could happen if they don’t have the right identification,” Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said during a news conference Wednesday at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
In the coming months, Minnesotans can expect to hear a lot more about Real ID as the Department of Public Safety works to raise awareness. Real ID licenses and ID cards feature a star inside a gold circle in the top right corner of the card.
Minnesota is one of the last states to adopt the federal requirements that were passed by Congress in 2005 in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The Real ID Act established minimum standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards.
They help ensure safety in the skies because they “improve reliability and accuracy of state-issued documents” and make it easier to detect terrorists attempting to avoid detection by using fraudulent documents, said Cliff Van Leuven, the Transportation Security Administration’s federal security director in Minnesota.
In lieu of the Real ID, travelers can use an enhanced driver’s license or ID card, or a passport or passport card to board a domestic flight.
An enhanced driver’s license or ID can be used to re-enter the U.S. by land or sea from Canada, Mexico and some Caribbean countries. An enhanced driver’s license can also be used for domestic air travel and access to federal facilities, but not international flights.
Real IDs can be used to access federal facilities, such as military bases and nuclear power plants, and for boarding domestic flights, but not for crossing borders.
Fewer than 8% of Minnesotans currently have a Real ID or enhanced ID, and the majority of domestic travelers use a standard driver’s license to go through security at MSP. So the push is on to get Minnesotans to apply for the cards.
Real IDs cost $32, the same fee charged for a regular driver’s license. But they require more documentation than a general driver’s license. Applicants must show documents proving date of birth, legal residence in Minnesota and the United States, and a Social Security number.
Applicants can apply for Real ID online and reduce time waiting at offices across the state, said Emma Corrie, director of the Driver and Vehicle Services.
The current turnaround time from when an application is received to when a card is mailed out is 27 days, so those renewing or applying for the first time should not wait until the deadline.
“It is important to plan now,” Van Leuven said.