LAKEVILLE, Minn. — The long wait for an "official" drivers license will be a thing of the past, at least temporarily, as the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) embarks on a pilot program that will instantly provide licenses at two state locations.
DPS on Monday announced that same-day licenses and IDs will be available at centers in Lakeville and Moorhead as part of a project authorized by the state legislature that runs through June of 2023. The licenses will only be available for those applying for, renewing or replacing a Class D license or state ID card (with or without motorcycle endorsement), and not for:
- REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses, permits or IDs
- Enhanced driver’s licenses, permits or IDs
- Commercial driver’s licenses or permits
There will be no additional fee for a same-day card at either of the pilot locations. DPS adds that the same-day licenses will have a slightly different look and feel, and are less flexible than the ones most Minnesotans have become accustomed to due to the type of card stock and laminate used in the on-site production process.
“This pilot program meets the needs of Minnesotans who would require a same-day card,” said DVS Director Pong Xiong. “We are happy to provide this efficient, innovative service to fulfill our customer’s expectations.”
With the launch of the program on Monday, the Dakota County License Center in Lakeville was busy on Tuesday.
"I know when people think of the DMV you don't always want to smile but you'd be amazed at all the smiles we saw yesterday when people were walking out with their driver's license in hand," Dakota County License Centers Director Kasha McLay said.
The procedure for a same-day license is the same as any standard license. Paperwork, payment, eye exam, photo and signature. But in the end, the applicant walks out with a license.
"The actual printing process actually only takes about 40 to 45 seconds," McLay said.
Daniel Smith said he lives in Minneapolis, but drove specifically to Lakeville for the same-day service. He said his license is set to expire on Wednesday, so he came at the perfect time.
"Procrastination kind of helped me out in this situation," he said with a laugh.
And what's more bipartisan than not wanting to wait for documents in the mail? Senator Zach Duckworth, the Republican State Senator from Lakeville said when he introduced the bill, Democratic Senator Kent Eon of Moorhead sponsored the bill. Duckworth explained that that's why the two pilot programs are in Lakeville and Moorhead.
"This was a bill that kind of generated from a common sense idea, saying hey MN we should be able to get our driver's licenses on the same day," Duckworth said. "So I carried the bill in the Senate and representative Koznick carried it in the House."
"DVS has had certain well-known issues with MNLARS and that system, we turned a corner on that moving forward," Representative Jon Koznick added. "We kind of ironed out a lot kinks in the old system but this is an example of innovation in technology so we can make service better for the people."
While the same-day services are for standard licenses only, McLay said she is expecting demand to rise.
"I think definitely once this becomes more public, once it gets on the news and in the papers, and people really know it's happening, I think we'll definitely see an uptick in these for sure," McLay said.
The pilot program ends June 30, 2023. Then a report will be filed with the Department of Public Safety along with the Department of Vehicle Services for evaluation.
For more on the same-day license pilot program, check out a special fact sheet on the DPS website.
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