Real ID and Minnesota


The Department of Homeland Security will implement its final phase of REAL ID requirements for travelers that board domestic air flights or cruises from/to US only ports on January 22, 2018. When phase 4 is implemented, only passports, Global Entry ID  or REAL ID drivers licenses will be proper identification for boarding. Minnesota does not have a REAL ID compliant drivers license, along a few other US states/territories. At the present time, Minnesota has been granted another extension which will allow MN drivers licenses that are non compliant to board domestic planes until October 10, 2018. Since MN and several other states have been granted extensions, there might be extensions granted in the future, but we  do not know for sure.

Once this finalized and you are beyond that date, you can no longer use your standard MN drivers license as proof of identity to get on a plane or take a cruise to US only ports. If you have a passport, or your Global Entry ID card, your good to go. If you have one of the enhanced MN drivers licenses, or a license from most other states, you are also able to travel. If not, and you do not have another acceptable document, you will be denied boarding. Minnesota does have an enhanced drivers license version that costs $15 more, but few have this despite the new requirements.

Minnesota has now passed an act to meet the requirements of the DHS Real ID requirements. The state is in the process of getting their offices ready for the new requirements, and some offices have that capability.

Until that is completed for all offices,  if you are a traveling Minnesotan without a passport, Global Entry ID or enhanced drivers license, you might want to consider getting the enhanced MN drivers license if your license is up for renewal before the state changes the regular drivers license standards. Standard MN drivers licenses for those over 21 are valid for 4 years, so you would have an issue boarding domestic flights in the future with the standard MN license if another extension is not granted.

If you are a US legal resident, sign up for the Global Entry program.  See my blog for information on how to apply for PreCheck or Global Entry. You will be able to use the Global Entry card to board domestic flights. And it is good for 5 years.

If you need to obtain an enhanced Minnesota drivers license, go to this link to learn more.

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