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Minnesota gets a federal extension to comply on Real ID, but only until January

ST. PAUL — The federal government gave Minnesota an extension to comply with the Real ID driver's license law — but only until January 2018, officials said Tuesday, Oct. 10.

Minnesota has been hoping that the state's driver's licenses and identification cards would get a pass at least until October of next year, when the state will start issuing licenses that conform to the federal requirements.

The notice of the latest extension to comply does not change very much for state residents worried their state-issued identification will not be accepted at airports and other federal security sites.

The federal government is not checking for Real ID-compliant licenses until Jan. 22, 2018. The federal government only extended Minnesota and other states' grace period until Jan. 22, the same date the law goes into effect.

"According to (U.S. Department of Homeland Security), during this grace period, federal agencies will continue to accept driver's licenses and identification cards issued by states with pending extensions," said Sam Fettig, Gov. Mark Dayton's spokesman.

Minnesota's current extension expired Tuesday. The state's requests for longer extensions during which current licenses would be accepted by the federal government have not yet been granted.

Minnesota only approved a state law to create Real ID licenses and other identification this year. It expects to begin issuing the new licenses in October 2018.

Real ID is a federal law, first approved in 2005, to set minimum security standards for federally acceptable identification. The standards include fingerprint and background checks for employees working in state driver's license bureaus and name checks on state residents receiving Real ID identification.

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