MN Driver’s Licenses Create Real Chaos


Starting sometime in 2016, residents of Minnesota, the U.S. territory American Samoa, and possibly other states may not be able to use their driver’s licenses as identification to fly domestically. I live in Minnesota, and I fly a lot, so this issue is a concern. Apparently the difficulty is that in 2009 Minnesota passed its own law prohibiting the state from complying with federal Real ID Act requirements. The Minnesota law was not a good idea, since it has led to the current impasse. As of November 12, 2015, Minnesota and American Samoa are the only two jurisdictions that have not complied with federal requirements or received an extension.

The Real ID Act has two basic requirements:

  • Establishes minimum standards for the production and issuance of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and authorizes grants to assist states in implementing the requirements;
  • Prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for official uses driver’s licenses and identity cards from states unless the Department of Homeland Security determines that the state meets the standards. Official uses are defined as accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and boarding federally-regulated commercial aircraft.

Apparently, Minnesota fails somewhere in the minimum standards for production and issuance of state-issued driver’s licenses.

If something doesn’t change, Minnesota’s airports will be Real Chaos when the federal government decides to enforce Real ID requirements. It’s time for the state to gets its act together.

See REAL ID worries for Minnesota driver’s licenses about to get real,  Will Minnesotans really need a new ID to fly by 2016?, and Minnesota driver’s licenses soon might not be valid for airport security for more details.


About Mark Mizen

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
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2 Responses to MN Driver’s Licenses Create Real Chaos

  1. Brenda says:

    We are right there with you in Washington state. Fortunately I have a Passport Card but can you imagine the delays at Airport Security when this becomes effective? From the Seattle Times Oct. 22, 2015:
    “The federal government has denied Washington state an extension from complying with tougher federal requirements that require proof of legal U.S. residency in order for state driver’s licenses and IDs to be valid for federal purposes, including, eventually, boarding commercial aircraft.”

  2. LG N Georgia says:

    I guess folks better apply for a Passport now!!

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