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Feds: Minnesotans don't need new ID for a year

ST. PAUL — Minnesotans have another year before they must have a Real ID-compliant driver's license to board airliners.

Gov. Mark Dayton announced Wednesday, Oct. 18, that the U.S. Homeland Security Department had granted the extension.

"All Minnesotans should be assured that they can continue to board commercial airplanes and access federal facilities with their existing driver's licenses or birth certificates as we work to fully implement Real ID and comply with federal requirements," Dayton said.

The new deadline is Oct. 18, 2018. Just last week federal officials announced Minnesotans had until Jan. 22 to obtain the more advanced identification cards, usually driver's licenses.

Next door in North Dakota, Department of Transportation officials say federal officials have told them that their state's current driver's licenses can be used until October of 2020 to board airliners and enter federal facilities.

Real ID is a 2005 federal law that set minimum security standards for identification. Minnesota and other states' legislators felt the standards were too intrusive and feared the federal government would keep a national database of all license holders, so they refused to comply.

However, in recent years it became apparent that Washington was serious in not allowing an old driver's license to be used to board airliners. Also many federal facilities require the new ID for entry.

Unless a state showed movement toward implementing Real ID, its existing licenses and other identification cards would not be accepted. Minnesota's passage of a law complying with the federal standards earlier this year allowed Homeland Security to issue the extension.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.