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Rep. Mekeland: Get a Real ID now and spare headaches later

Thursday, January 9, 2020


ST. PAUL – The deadline to comply with new federal ID standards arrives later this year and Rep. Shane Mekeland, R-Clear Lake, encourages people to sign up now and beat the rush.

Starting Oct. 1, every air traveler 18 years of age or older will need a Real ID, enhanced driver’s license or ID, passport or passport card, or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States or enter federal facilities.

Reports show fewer than 10 percent of Minnesotans currently are compliant with the new ID standards and it is still taking several weeks for the state to turn around applications. Mekeland said the pressures on turnaround time could intensify in coming months as more people get in line.

“I am not a fan of Real ID but the reality is this is something we have to do,” Mekeland said. “If you plan to board a flight this fall or beyond, get the paperwork done and file your application. If the failed launch of the MNLARS program for vehicle registrations taught us anything it is that glitches and errors can occur with new programs and cause significant headaches for people. Waiting until this summer to apply could be tempting fate in terms of obtaining a Real ID in timely fashion. It would be a tough pill to swallow being stuck on the ground because your paperwork is hung up in St. Paul.”

There are additional documents needed to obtain a Real ID driver’s license or enhanced driver’s License or state ID card. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety website has information detailing the requirements and documents needed. DPS also has a pre-application online page to help speed up the process for processing an application for the Real ID.

The federal Real ID program was created in the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Congress raised ID standards in 2005, phased in over a number of years, with the stated goal of protecting our nation. While Minnesota’s current standard IDs do not meet the heightened federal standards, legislation enacted in 2017 allows the state to come into compliance this year.


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