Applying for REAL ID? 'Come prepared' as more documents are required
WILMAR -- It was noon Friday and Deb Mickle and the crew at the Kandiyohi County License Bureau in Willmar finally had a chance to breathe. The long line of customers that had snaked through the corridor much of Friday morning was now down to one...
WILMAR - It was noon Friday and Deb Mickle and the crew at the Kandiyohi County License Bureau in Willmar finally had a chance to breathe.
The long line of customers that had snaked through the corridor much of Friday morning was now down to one or two people there to renew their driver's licenses, including applying for the new REAL ID-compliant driver's license.
The REAL ID Act sets federal security standards for licenses. Licenses that meet those standards will be needed by October of 2020 to take domestic flights or enter federal buildings, including military bases.
Some are opting for a step above that by applying for the new "enhanced driver's license" that does everything the REAL ID license does, plus allows people to cross borders to Mexico and Canada.
Both new options became available Oct. 1 in Minnesota.
Since then, license offices across the state have been busy helping process the applications.
Unfortunately, said Mickle, after standing in line waiting, many people are sent back home to retrieve more documents.
That's frustrating both for customers and for those behind the counter who are trying to help, she said.
Mickle's advice? "Come prepared."
Both new licenses require more documents than what's needed to simply renew a standard driver's license.
"There's more documentation you have to bring in. This is the pages of stuff," she said, waving a handful of papers.
Mickle said customers need to be informed about what's needed - and get those documents gathered up - before they come in to fill out an application.
"You will be sent away if you don't have what you need," said Mickle, adding that she and her staff are eager to help people get through the process.
Printed copies of the requirements are available at licensing bureaus as well as online at: dvs.dps.mn.gov.
To obtain the REAL ID license, people need to bring a valid Minnesota photo driver's license, permit or ID; proof of Social Security number; two documents for proof of Minnesota residency; and proof of name change if applicable.
Information is available that spells out exactly what types of documents from each category the state will accept as proof.
The cost of the federally compliant license is the same as renewing a standard license - $25.25 for a regular Class D license.
The enhanced license costs an additional $15 and requires even more documents, including proof of the following: date of birth, legal name, Social Security number, photographic identity, United States citizenship and Minnesota residency.
Some people need even more documents, Mickle said.
For example, she said, people seeking the enhanced license that have been married and divorced have to "show that whole chain of name change in order to get that card."
Not everyone needs to get the REAL ID-compliant license or the enhanced license.
Traditional driver's licenses will still be available and will be valid for people to drive. But after October of 2020, those with traditional licenses won't be allowed to fly or enter a federal building without some other form of acceptable ID.
Mickle said a chart is available to help people decide what type of license is best for them.
"It's been taking us half-an-hour per customer to try to help people decide what they want," she said. "So if you have that decided before you get here, it speeds it up for you and everybody behind you."
Mickle said they are now starting a new step in the process that asks customers to pick up the driver's license application as soon as they enter the building and fill it out before they approach the counter.
The application can also be filled out online and will be ready for action when customers come to the local office.
Computers are available on site for people to use, or applications can also be filled on phones by downloading a barcode available on the application.
"Those things help tremendously with the flow of the line," Mickle said. "Come prepared. That's absolutely key."