Minnesota finally passes Real ID Bill - Thrifty Traveler

Minnesota finally passes Real ID Bill

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Minnesota state lawmakers finally passed a bill, upgrading MN licenses, bringing them in line with federal standards enacted with the 2005 Real ID act. Without the new bill, Minnesotans would’ve had to bring their passport to clear airport security (for domestic travel) starting in 2018. After years of dragging their feet, Minnesota is the last state in the union to enact the law. Just a reminder that a US passport will still be required for international travel.

The Real ID act was passed by Congress in 2005, as a counterterrorism measure to improve personal identification. Minnesota driver’s licenses must be issued to comply with the new law by October 2020. I would expect the new Real ID-compliant licenses to be issued later this year.

Thrifty Tip: Do you have a Minnesota license expiring soon? You can already apply for a Real ID enhanced license for $15. This option should be free in the coming months.


REAL ID Thrifty Traveler
Follow our Thrifty Tip at your next renewal to avoid this nightmare


What we know:

  • Governor Mark Dayton is expected to sign the bill this week
  • The state avoids the January 2018 deadline to approve Real ID standards
  • The state has through October 2020 to issue Real ID-compliant licenses
  • All current licenses will work temporarily until your next renewal (when Real ID licenses will be offered)
  • Real ID compliant licenses will soon cost the same at renewal as a standard license


Bottom Line

The 12-year struggle to implement new Real ID licenses can finally be put to rest. Minnesota licenses will be accepted at all facilities temporarily until the state begins issuing compliant licenses in the near future. There will be no additional cost for a Real ID-compliant license at renewal in the future.


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3 Responses

  • Finally. I just renewed mine (not enhanced) earlier this year; I hope I can get an enhanced one without paying extra.

  • I believe standard MN licenses will continue to be accepted now that this law is enacted. IIRC the TSA will grant us an exception now that we have a pathway to RealID compliance. Other states have non-compliant IDs too.

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