REAL ID progress, blame and FAQs for Minnesota

Minnesota is one of the few states that does not comply with REAL ID, and at some point this year the feds will put the state on notice that it has only a 3-month window to make the fixes. But the plan to get Minnesota in line with REAL ID is still caught up in a political battle at the Capitol.

A driver’s license with REAL ID won’t look much different from your current license -- it’s all about the verification the state must require to issue it. REAL ID includes submitting a Social Security number, proof of legal residence and citizenship verification.

At a Wednesday morning press conference, the governor blamed House Republicans for stalling, saying “REAL ID needs to be done.” But House Speaker Kurt Daudt tossed the blame right back.

“To be honest here, what the governor is doing is looking for somebody to blame, and he should be looking in the mirror,” Rep. Daudt said.

The speaker says they have drafted a new bill that eliminates a 2009 law which banned implementation of REAL ID. Additionally, the language directs the public safety commissioner to submit an implementation report to lawmakers on the first day of the legislative session, scheduled for March 8. Speaker Daudt says his caucus has seen no such legislation from the governor.

“We’re two days from his self-imposed deadline when he’d like to call a special session and we haven’t seen one issue or specific item that he wants to accomplish,” Rep. Daudt said.

“It’s just a cop-out to say we haven’t provided the specific language,” Gov. Dayton said in response. “We can get the specific language done tomorrow before lunch and get the whole thing resolved and agreed to by dinner time.”

Speaker Daudt, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and the governor will meet on Friday morning.

REAL ID frequently asked questions

What is REAL ID?

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards. States have made considerable progress in meeting this key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission and every state has a more secure driver’s license today than before the passage of the Act.

Do I need a passport for domestic air travel starting January 2016?

No.  DHS is in the process of scheduling plans for implementing REAL ID enforcement at airports.  DHS will ensure that the traveling public has ample notice (at least, 120 days) before any changes are made that might affect their travel planning.

Until enforcement at the airports begins, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will continue to accept state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards from all states, as well other forms of acceptable identification listed on the TSA website.

Can I use my driver’s license to board an aircraft?

Yes. Until otherwise announced, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will continue to accept driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards from all jurisdictions.

DHS will ensure the public has ample advanced notice before identification requirements for boarding aircraft change. That notice will include information on the process for individuals with a non-compliant driver’s license or identification card to be able to travel by aircraft.

Will TSA accept any documents other than my driver’s licenses?

Yes. The Transportation Security Administration currently accepts other forms of identity documents such as a passport or Permanent Residency Card and will continue to do so.

For more information on acceptable forms of identification for boarding aircraft, please see TSA’s website at

If I am flying with a minor, do they need identification?

The Transportation Security Administration does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. The companion will need acceptable identification.

What do I need to do if I am visiting a federal facility or a military base?

Starting October 10, 2015, visitors seeking access to military bases and almost all Federal facilities using their state-issued driver’s licenses or identification cards must present proper identification issued by REAL ID compliant states or a state that has received an extension. When planning a visit to a Federal facility or military base, visitors should contact the facility to determine what identification will be accepted.

Will a federal agency accept my Enhanced Driver’s License?

Yes. State Enhanced Driver’s Licenses (EDLs) designated as acceptable border-crossing documents by DHS under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative are acceptable for official federal purposes such as accessing a Federal facility or boarding a commercial aircraft. Individual agency policies may still apply.

Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington are the only states that currently issue EDLs. For more information on EDLs, please go to

Is REAL ID a national identification card?

No. REAL ID is not a national identification card. States and territories will continue to issue driver’s licenses and identification cards, and there is no Federal database of driver information. Each jurisdiction will issue its own unique license and maintain its own records.

Is my driver’s license unsecure if a Federal agency does not accept it?

No. All states and territories have made tremendous progress in strengthening the security of their driver’s licenses since 9/11. Not being on the list of compliant jurisdictions means that the Department of Homeland Security has not received sufficient information to determine that the jurisdiction has met all the requirements of the REAL ID Act.

REAL ID does NOT apply to the following:

Entering Federal facilities that do not require a person to present identification

Voting or registering to vote

Applying for or receiving Federal benefits

Being licensed by a state to drive

Accessing Health or life preserving services (including hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement, or constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant’s access to court proceedings)

Participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigations