ST. PAUL -- As the Oct. 1 deadline to have REAL IDs approaches, some counties in Minnesota are doing better than others.

According to a press release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Rock County leads the state with nearly 22% of driver's license and ID card holders being REAL ID ready. Rock County is followed by Houston County with 17.31% and Lyon County at 16.26%.

Statewide there are 316,302 Minnesota REAL ID driver's license and ID card holders, as well as 251,241 enhanced driver's license and ID card holders. The total number of REAL ID ready card holders in the state is 567,543, or 12.04% of Minnesota, up from 7.8% in September 2019.

The need for REAL ID cards comes as the federal government has set a deadline of Oct. 1, 2020. On that date, every air traveler 18 and older will be required to have a REAL ID card, an enhanced driver's license, a passport or a passport card to fly within the United States or enter a federal facility, such as a military base. On that date, a standard Minnesota driver's license will no longer be accepted for federal use.

The release states 4.1 million Minnesotans still carry standard driver's licenses and ID cards. The counties with the fewest REAL ID card holders are Pope with 4.96% and Aitkin with 5%.

Regionally, the county with the highest amount of REAL ID card holders is Clearwater, ranked 33rd out of the state's 87 counties with 11.49%.

The rest of the counties are ranked as follows:

  • Cass County is 50th, with 10% of card holders being REAL ID ready.
  • Marshall County is 64th, with 8.66%.
  • Hubbard County is 65th, with 8.65%.
  • Beltrami County is 71st, with 7.49%.
  • Koochiching is 76th, with 6.57%.
  • Lake of the Woods County is 78th, with 6.3%.
  • Itasca County is 80th, with 6.09%.
  • Pennington County is 81st, with 5.88%.
  • Roseau is 82nd, with 5.81%.

"If you haven't applied for your REAL ID and are planning a vacation later this year, add it to your to-do list," said Emma Corrie, Department of Public Safety and Vehicle Services director. "Make sure you, your friends and your family members apply for REAL ID now."

To apply for a change to a REAL ID or enhanced card, residents need a document proving one's identity, date of birth and legal presence in the United States. Citizens are also required to bring a document with their social security number and two documents proving current residency in Minnesota. For more information, visit dps.mn.gov/divisions/dvs/real-id.