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Minn. officials consider additional Real ID resources as October deadline nears

By Euan Kerr

State officials say they’re considering adding resources to help Minnesotans get Real ID cards, a form of identification that will be required as of Oct. 1 to board planes and to enter some federal buildings.

Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington says getting the new card takes time and as the deadline draws closer he wants to avoid the system getting clogged with applications.

Gov. Tim Walz and Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington speaking in front of a newly opened Real ID application center Wednesday in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport’s Terminal 1. Euan Kerr/MPR News

“Adding extra offices, adding extended hours, adding Saturdays as an option, are all things under consideration,” he said. “And we are trying to work with the governor and the Legislature to try and make that happen.”

Harrington spoke at a newly opened Real ID application office inside the security zone at Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport. Passengers are encouraged to pre-register online and bring their application documents while they wait for flights.

Harrington says to guarantee getting a Real ID by Oct. 1, applications need to be submitted by June 15.

Both Harrington and Gov. Tim Walz said they are concerned that procrastination on the part of members of the public may result in a last-minute surge of applications.

“The fear that I have is that if everybody does this at the last minute or everybody does it at one time, we clog that system,” Walz said “I assure you we are looking at fixes around that. We are looking at surge capacity.”

Only about 13 percent of Minnesotans have RealIDs, so far.

Applicants must provide a number of documents for the new card. Harrington says people can save a great deal of time and confusion by completing the on-line registration which begins the application and spells out exactly what documentation is needed.