<img src="https://secure.hall3hook.com/198388.png" alt="" style="display:none;">

2016 Driver License Updates

Stephanie Cho

Since the beginning of the year, 7 states have issued updated versions of state identification cards - i.e.: driver licenses and identification (ID) cards - to meet the requirements of the Real ID Act.

The Real ID Act was enacted by Congress on May 11, 2005. The Real ID Act addresses the new security, authentication, and issuance proceduer standards state driver licenses and identification cards must meet in order to be accepted by federal agencies. As a side note, the act also requires these new standards to be met by US territories and addresses certain aspects of immigration issues. In short, the Real ID act mainly establishes the new minimum security standards state-issued driver licenses and identification cards need to have.

To be clear, the Real ID Act does not require states to meet these requirements - but not doing so means that the state's residents can neither use services nor prove their identities at the federal level. In other words, residents of states who are noncompliant with the act cannot use their state driver licenses/identification cards to, for example, travel domestically (the TSA is a federal agency), apply for a passport, or enter the military. Although meeting the requirements of the Real ID Act is technically voluntary, it is in each state's best interest to be compliant with the Real ID Act.

Residents in states that have issued Real ID Act compliant driver licenses and identification cards have until the expiration date on their current driver licenses/identification cards to update/renew.

Beginning January 22, 2018, federal agencies will no longer accept driver licenses and identification cards from states that are noncompliant. However, residents from states that are noncompliant by that date but have received extensions to the deadline will be allowed to continue to use their non-expired not-yet compliant state driver licenses and/or identification cards to travel domestically. Residents from states that are noncomplaint and do not have an extension will need to present acceptable, alternative forms of identification in order to pass TSA checkpoints. Acceptable, alternative forms of identification include a US Passport, a US military ID, a permanent resident card, and a foreign government-issued passport. Neither a weapons permit nor a temporary driver license/identification card are acceptable alternates.

By October 1, 2020, all state driver licenses and identification cards need to meet the Real ID Act standards to be accepted at the federal level - otherwise, an acceptable, alterative form of identification needs to be presented. This deadline also covers states that are compliant but have residents who have yet to update/renew their driver licenses and/or identification cards to Real ID Act compliant documents.

Below, you'll find a table listing the 7 states that have issued Real ID Act-compliant driver licenses and identification cards as well as the security features that are present on these new cards.

Underneath that table, you'll find another table listing the noncompliant and compliant states and territories as of June 16, 2016, for your refernce. Between now and January 1, 2020, you can expect that the 31 US states and territories who are not yet complaint will update their driver licenses and identification cards.

For your convenience, you can see and download a PDF containing the table of 7 updated states as well as the states that are thus far compliant (and noncompliant) by clicking here.

So Far in 2016: Updated Driver Licenses and Identification Cards & their Security Features
(listed by most recent first)
State Rollout Date Hologram/Optically Variable Pattern Ultraviolet (UV) Raised Text Ghost Picture Laser Perforation/Engraving Barcode Magnetic Strip Background Image Additional Updates
Rhode Island Mid-August 2016; limited rollout started July 16, 2016 Yes: State Name, State Seal, Anchor, Stars Yes N/A Yes N/A Yes N/A Clairborne Pell Newport Bridge N/A
Massachusetts July 24, 2016 Yes: State Bird (Chickadee) and State Flower (Mayflower) to upper right of portrait; Initials, Birth Year Yes Yes: Initials, Birth Year No Yes: Outline of State Yes: 1D, 2D No Golden Dome of the State House Image of Civil War Memorial at the bottom right of the back of the license
Utah June 2016 N/A N/A N/A Yes Yes: Image of Beehive on the right Yes: 1D, 2D No State House N/A
Illinois May-July 2016 N/A Yes: Portrait and Birthdate on back of card Yes: Photo, Data Yes Yes: Outline of State Yes: 2D No Portrait of Abraham Lincoln and the Great Seal License is durable and tamper-resistant because it is constructed using polycarbonate
Maryland June 20, 2016 for renewals; July 11, 2016 for first-timers Yes: Ghost Image of Portrait with an Overlay of the Birthdate at upper right corner N/A Yes: Birthdate Yes Yes Yes No Maryland State Flag License is durable and tamper-resistant because it is constructed using polycarbonate
Colorado Pilot Program started March 1, 2016 in Littleton, Aurora, and Frisco; Statewide rollout was April 6, 2016 N/A N/A Yes: Personal Data, Document Information Yes Yes: Primary Portrait, Personal Information, Document Type (i.e.: license, permit, ID card) Yes: 2D Yes Mt. Sneffels drawn in green, blue, and yellow fine-lines State Capitol building drawn in fine-lines, color logos of the State Flag, and Department of Revenue building on back of card
Montana January-February 2016 Yes: Images of Ponderosa Pine Trees, the State Bird, and the word "Montanta" Yes: Background Elements on front of card; second Ghost Image and Issue Date on back of card N/A Yes Yes: Image of State Flower (bitterroot) at bottom right corner Yes: 2D No Glacier National Park drawn in fine-line detail N/A
Wisconsin November 1, 2015
(in case you missed this one last year)
N/A Yes: highlights of Wisconsin-related artwork Yes: Signature, Birthdate, Expiration Date, Driver License/ID Number, "Under 21 Until" Date Yes Yes: Primary Portrait Yes: 1D, 2D No State Capitol building, State Flag, Sugar Maple leaf License is durable and tamper-resistant because it is constructed using polycarbonate; when card is dropped on a hard surface, it makes a unique, metallic sound

Noncompliant States/Territories with No Extension as of June 16, 2016
American Samoa

Noncompliant States/Territories with an Extension as of June 16, 2016
North Marianas
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Virgin Islands

Compliant States/Territories as of June 16, 2016
South Dakota
West Virgina
Washington D.C.

Leave a Comment

Blog posts

Related Articles.

Stephanie Cho

What to Expect from Real ID

Many states are changing driver's license and identification card designs in next two years - which...

Read more
Stephanie Cho

Why AAMVA Verification is not a foolproof ID Authentication method

A criminal that has your information can take over your life in a variety of different ways: he...

Read more