MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — State officials say efforts to resolve the state’s REAL ID mess is on track.

But the ultimate all-clear is not yet here.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says Minnesotans “should” be able to use their existing driver’s licenses to get on an airplane after this October.

But as Esme Murphy reports, there is still a major hurdle of getting the official extension. Ask any traveler about Real ID and you tend to get the same answer. Mary Vang said,

“I think it is pretty confusing. I think there is a lot of information about it that isn’t really made clear to travelers,” Mary Vang said.

The Department of Public Safety says Minnesotans should be able to use their current ID cards to get on planes or access federal facilities until 2020. The Republican state representative from Maple Grove who is the chief author of the state’s REAL ID legislation says he is optimistic.

“I do feel confident that we are headed toward the right track and we will be able to — the systems, everything will come in place where we will be able to use our regular IDs for commercial air travel,” Rep. Dennis Smith said.

Smith, the Department of Public Safety and Gov. Mark Dayton’s office cite the new assurances from the federal government that the state is on target to making the necessary changes to qualify for the extension.

That extension needs to come before October 2018 and would allow Minnesotans to use their current IDs until 2020 for air travel and to access federal facilities.

“We really are getting very close to it but we are not completely home yet,” Smith said.

Minnesotans are supposed to be able to start applying for and getting the new real IDs, the one that meets all federal standards, in October of this year.

Now if you are someone who is worried that all these guarantees will fall apart and you want to make sure you can get on a plane no matter what, Smith says you have two options: You can apply for a U.S. passport, or you can apply for what is known as an enhanced Minnesota driver’s license at Minnesota Drivers and Vehicle Licensing facilities. That enhanced license costs $15 more than a regular license.

Esme Murphy

Comments