The Echo

Enhanced driver’s license available in Minnesota

Form of real ID aimes for easier, safer international travel

The+Minnesota+enhanced+driver%27s+licence+serves+as+form+of+real+ID%2C+a+Federal+state+ID+security+minimum+effective+October+10%2C+2018.%0A%0A
The Minnesota enhanced driver's licence serves as form of real ID, a Federal state ID security minimum effective October 10, 2018.

The Minnesota enhanced driver's licence serves as form of real ID, a Federal state ID security minimum effective October 10, 2018.

Photo illustration by Noah Deetz

Photo illustration by Noah Deetz

The Minnesota enhanced driver's licence serves as form of real ID, a Federal state ID security minimum effective October 10, 2018.

Eli Curran-Moore

Senior David Salamzadeh, who recently acquired an enhanced driver’s licence, said the new licence can function as another form of ID in lieu of a passport to enter the United States from some neighboring countries. Salamzadeh got his from the Plymouth DMV, and said the licence is only available in certain locations.

“The enhanced driver’s license (EDL) is an ID you can use as a passport in Canada and Mexico as an alternative to having to carry your ID and your passport. There’s also more security features on the EDL. I’m sure there’s more but that’s all I know,” Salamzadeh said.

Democratic Minnesota Senator Scott Dibble said the EDL has been available for a while, but is relevant now because the EDL counts as a form of real ID, a Federal state ID security minimum effective October 10, 2018.

“(The EDL) was actually created a number of years ago when real ID wasn’t on anyone’s mind. The purpose of enhanced ID is to serve as a surrogate passport for getting out of and back into Canada, Mexico and some Caribbean Islands on the surface. If you are going to fly, you still need your passport,” Dibble said. “However, what is important is enhanced ID can serve as a real ID. So if you don’t have a real ID compliant driver’s licence, but you do have enhanced ID, that’s all you need.”

Dibble explained what real ID is and what effect real ID will have on Minnesota in the near future. According to Dibble, Real ID will remain optional, but at the cost of certain restrictions on travel and entry into certain locations.

“Real ID is just a regular ID, such as a driver’s licence or a Minnesota ID card to verify (a person’s) identity. A few years ago the federal government required to issue a driver’s license or other ID used for various federal purposes, such as flying, states would have to increase some of the security standards and proofs of identity issuing those IDs,” Dibble said. “If people want to use their ID to get on a plane, into certain federal buildings, military bases, etc. people are going to have to provide more verification and documentation to get a ‘real ID.’ People can continue to opt for a driver license which isn’t a real ID, but then they can’t use that to get on a plane, etc.”

Senior Ben Provost said he originally planned on getting the enhanced driver’s license when he went to renew his own standard license, but it was not available at the AAA in St. Louis Park.

“I was originally going to get (the EDL), having heard about it, but at the AAA I went to they don’t have it, you can’t get it at that location. So I just had to get a regular driver’s license,” Provost said.

Dibble said the EDL may become more popular with real ID as standard due to security concerns.

“If we look across the border to Wisconsin, people are afraid that real ID is a pretext for some big government database to allow the government to spy on us. For some reason people don’t feel the same way about enhanced ID,” Dibble said. “I can’t explain why people make that distinction because to me it’s all the same thing, but a number of people have opted to not get real ID in favor of getting their version of enhanced ID. So possibly enhanced ID will become a go-to option.”

Salamzadeh said since he had to renew his driver’s licence anyway, it was worth getting the enhanced licence.

“I’d heard about (the EDL) since my parents mentioned it to me,” Salamzadeh said. “You had to bring some extra paperwork but it wasn’t really over the top, so I figured, why not? (The EDL) was slightly more expensive, 15 dollars or so, and you had to have an extra form of ID and a bank statement. There’s a ton of things you can choose from to bring in online.”

Provost said his motivation for getting the enhanced licence was the convenience of renewing the licence.

“(The EDL is) a newer, ‘more valid’ type of identification. (The new EDL) takes less time to renew, you don’t have to renew it as often,” Provost said.

Dibble said the EDL’s main purpose in Minnesota is to make travel to Canada easier, as obtaining a EDL is easier than a passport.

“(Enhanced ID) is an optional program that was made available for states to opt into,” Dibble said. “Minnesota being a border state with a lot of traffic at the checkpoints with Canada, legislators representing districts at the border thought (enhanced ID) was a good option, it’s a lot less expensive and cumbersome than getting a passport.”

Salamzadeh said the new EDL provides extra peace of mind and increased convenience for travel documentation and identification.

“It always just seems to be handy to have some extra security when your carrying an ID carry around, if you ever need a passport or an extra form of ID it can act as both which is really handy, so it’s definitely worth the trouble of getting it,” Salamzadeh said.

More information about the EDL and how to get one is available at Minnesota Department of Public Safety website.

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About the Writer
Eli Curran-Moore, Business Editor/Manager

Hey everyone, my name is Eli Curran-Moore, I'm a senior, Staff Writer and Business Manager for Echo this year.

Jon Hassler’s Jemmy >>Nabokov...

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