July 16, 2018
Minnesota officials unveiled a new design for its driver’s licenses Monday, featuring a canoeist floating in front of a horizon filled with pine trees instead of the state seal.
The state will begin using the newly designed IDs starting Aug. 6. The redesign was prompted by a need to make them easier to read and harder to duplicate. They will be available in time for the roll out of Real ID upgrades on Oct. 1.
“We did this to make sure that the card not only complied with national standards, but that it’s useful to many different partners,” said Dawn Olson, director of Minnesota’s Driver and Vehicle Services.
In May of 2017, the Minnesota Legislature passed the Real ID bill so that Minnesota could comply with federal ID regulations.
Beginning in October of 2020, Minnesotans seeking to enter a federal building or board a flight will be required to have a federal government-compliant Real ID, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
WHY THE CHANGE?
In 2005, the Federal government passed a law forcing states to create Real IDs to make domestic air travel and entrance into federally regulated buildings more secure.
New laser technology applied to the Real IDs makes duplication of the cards “very difficult,” according to Dino Redman from Idemia identification — the card vendor used by the state.
Tony Chesak, the director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, said the newly designed IDs will be “refreshing” for the industry, and will help keep underage drinkers from forging ID cards.
“Fargone are the years when IDs are made in somebody’s dorm room, with an X-acto knife or a pair of scissors,” Chesak said.
WHAT WILL THEY LOOK LIKE?
The newly designed standard IDs and driver’s licenses will look almost identical to the Real ID cards — the only difference being a gold star in the upper-left-hand corner of the Real ID cards.
The licenses will feature a faded-out Minnesota scene in the background: a lake with a canoeist and pine trees. They will also have two numbers instead of one. The ID number will be next to the resident’s photo instead of underneath it, and will have dashes in between the digits to make it easier for police officers to read.
The second number, found in small text on the bottom of the card, will be a 14-digit number used for extra security measures, Redman said.
As for those under the age of 21, the IDS will be vertical instead of horizontal — a move that several other states have made. Currently, Minnesota puts a maroon border around the photos of drivers younger than 21, which can be harder for law enforcement to read in low-light situations, said Dawanna Witt, a sergeant with the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?
Minnesotans whose current identification cards or driver’s licenses expire before the Real ID rollout in October should renew their cards as usual, Olson said.
Though the newly designed cards will be available Aug. 6, they won’t be Real ID compliant unless residents go back to renew their cards again in October. To help clear up confusion, residents who renew their IDs between Aug. 6 and Oct. 1 will receive cards that read: Not a Real ID compliant card.
Once Real ID begins, Minnesota residents wanting the upgraded cards will need to provide more documentation when renewing their licenses than they’d normally bring. This includes a document proving their identity such as a birth certificate, proof of their social security number and two documents proving their current residency.
Residents will need to swap out their current cards for Real ID ones by Oct. 1, 2020, if they want to board an airplane. Those who opt not to get Real ID cards, could still use a passport or an enhanced driver’s license to fly.
The cost of the Real ID will be the same: $25.25 for a Minnesota license, $19.25 for an ID card.
WHAT ABOUT THE LONG DMV LINES?
Long lines and frustration were common after the state rolled out a new computer system for its license bureaus sites in 2017. The $93 million replacement for a 30-year-old computer system dealing with vehicle titles has been troubled by glitches. Officials have said it will take an additional $43 million to bring it up to snuff.
Olson, of the state’s Driver and Vehicle Services, does not expect the same problem when the new licenses are rolled out.
“Customer service is a priority,” she said of the Real ID rollout.
She also said it’s important to remind people that they don’t need to rush and get a new ID right away.