State to begin issuing new driver licenses aimed at deterring ID theft

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An example of the new State of Washington driver license.

Washington state is starting to issue newly designed driver licenses and ID cards aimed at better protecting residents from identity theft.

“This new card system has incredible security features in it that will really decrease the amount of counterfeit cards that exist in the world,” said Pat Kohler, director of the state’s Department of Licensing.

Those security features include fine-line printing and ultraviolet ink.

The state will roll-out the new cards over the next several months, beginning at its licensing office in Shelton.

“And sometime this summer, we would finish the roll-out at all of our 56 offices,” Kohler said.

The new licenses and ID cards have a new look, but their functions haven’t changed. The Enhanced Driver Licenses and Enhanced ID Cards (EDLs/EIDs) can be used for all federal identification purposes. That includes entering secure federal facilities and — following the January 2018 federal compliance deadline — boarding domestic flights at commercial airports. Standard driver licenses and ID cards are still not valid for these federal purposes.

Want the new driver license before its available at your local licensing office? Residents who are eligible to renew their license online will automatically receive the new-look license.

In fact, all documents purchased online will now be issued with the state’s new updates. Those documents also include ID cards, enhanced driver licenses, commercial driver licenses and temporary licenses.

Kohler said that all current licenses will remain valid until they expire, so nobody needs to make a special trip to have their license or ID card replaced.

Temporary licenses issued in driver licensing offices will now be printed on a full sheet of paper instead of being a paper copy of the actual license. This is similar to how it’s already done online, and will no longer include a photo. Kohler said removing the photo should help prevent identity theft.

“The current temporary driver’s license is so similar to your original driver’s license that you get in the mail, it creates a false sense of security (because it is simply a temporary document).”

Read more at the Department of Licensing blog here.

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