Explaining REAL ID

David at desk

As Minnesotans are planning holiday travel and winter get a ways, I wanted to update you on REAL ID. I’ve received a lot of questions about Minnesota’s noncompliance with REAL ID. To help clear up any confusion, I thought I would share this information with you. People are genuinely concerned that they won’t be able to board commercial airplanes with just their driver’s license. There isn’t any reason to immediately panic and worry about boarding planes if you have a standard driver’s license. If you have a passport or an Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL), you won’t have any problems going forward.

In brief, the REAL ID Act was passed in 2005 as a response to the terrorist attacks on 9/11. The idea behind it was to have uniform standards to confirm the identity of people entering nuclear power plants, federal facilities, and boarding commercial planes. Because of “privacy and state control” Governor Pawlenty signed a law prohibiting Minnesota from complying with the REAL ID Act. It’s now clear that Minnesota must act so people will have the certainty that when they’re planning travel, they’ll be able to board an airplane.

As it stands, last month Governor Dayton asked the federal government to give Minnesota more time to comply with the REAL ID requirements when it comes to air travel. The Department of Homeland Security has said that by the end of this year, they will release a timetable on enforcement. When they do so, they will provide at least 120 days’ notice before implementation.

So, even if the Department of Homeland Security issued guidance tomorrow, you would still be able to fly with a regular driver’s license until mid-April at the very earliest. In that time, most people would be able to find time to get an EDL and pay the $15 fee.

Thankfully, the Minnesota Legislature will convene on March 8th 2016. I sense that there will be a quick bipartisan solution to bring Minnesota in compliance and address any Department of Homeland Security issues.

If you have any questions about the EDL, you can contact the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Please feel free to contact my office at 651-296-0171 or email me at rep.david.bly@house.mn with any additional questions or concerns you may have.

I hope this information was helpful.


Rep. David Bly

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