Real ID launches Monday in Minnesota

WORTHINGTON -- Beginning Monday, Minnesota residents will be able to update their driver's license to the federally compliant Real ID or enhanced card.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety shows a sample Real ID. Starting Monday, people can apply for the new form of identification in Minnesota.

WORTHINGTON - Beginning Monday, Minnesota residents will be able to update their driver’s license to the federally compliant Real ID or enhanced card.

But driver’s license offices across the state - bracing for the potential to be inundated with applications and long lines - are asking people not to rush in. The deadline to have the enhanced or Real ID card is Oct. 1, 2020.

In Nobles County, counter hours will actually be reduced for the foreseeable future, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., to ensure processing of Real ID requests, according to deputy registrar Louise Naumann. Motor vehicle registrations will continue to be processed until 4 p.m.

On average, the Nobles County License Center processes 25 driver’s licenses per day. With Real ID, Naumann said each application will take about 20 minutes. That means people working daytime hours who normally would attempt to renew over a lunch break may not be able to complete their licensing process as quickly as they did previously.

She encourages people to wait until their current driver’s license nears expiration to get the Real ID.


“You don’t need it for the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) until 2020,” Naumann said.

Minnesota is one of 17 states that received extensions on Real ID. The benefits to the new driver’s license include use for domestic air travel and access to federal facilities such as military bases, in addition to - like standard driver’s licenses - being valid for identification purposes and lawful driving privileges. The cards are also issued to both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens. Real ID cards cannot be used as identification for border crossings or for international travel - both of which require a valid passport.

There are several additional documents individuals must provide during application for a Real ID. Proof of identity, date of birth and legal presence in the U.S. must be provided in the form of a birth certificate or passport. Also, individuals must provide proof of a Social Security number (Social Security card or W-2 form), and two documents proving Minnesota residency (valid driver’s license or credit card statement).

People may choose to get an enhanced card instead of the Real ID card. A more expensive option ($40.25 instead of $25.25 for a driver’s license, or $34.25 instead of $19.25 for an ID card), the enhanced card can be used at border crossings, but is not issued to non-U.S. citizens.

Details about the different options for driver’s licenses and identification cards will be posted outside the Nobles County License Center, and information is also available on the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s website,

“We’re going to do our best to process (applications),” Naumann said, adding that there is a staff of four who work with both driver’s licenses and motor vehicle transactions in the office. To ramp up for Real ID processing, each of the employees had to be fingerprinted, complete a background check and do testing on the computer programs used for the new licensing system. Training began in May.

Naumann encourages anyone with questions regarding Real ID to call the local office at 295-5264.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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