JACKSON, Wyo. — Getting ready to travel for spring break? Worried your Wyoming driver’s license is not a valid federally compliant form of identification?
If you’re pressed for time and don’t care to read more, the short answer is: you’re probably good. Check the upper righthand corner of your DL for a star. And the state is taking licenses a step further. Since December, Wyoming’s driver licenses and identification cards are now more secure and harder to counterfeit.
The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) recently started issuing new state driver licenses and ID cards that have extra security features. Those whose cards are expiring will receive a new driver’s license or identification card, which look different from the current licenses and ID cards.
“The new cards are made up of a polycarbonate material,” said WYDOT Driver Services Program Manager Misty Dobson. “The new cards have 13 different security features, making them more secure. For our Wyoming cards, we have three unique security features that no other state has.”
Besides the new security features, the new cards have the image of Devils Tower on the front and the state capitol building on the back. The driver licenses have blue accents while the ID cards have red accents.
The new licenses and ID cards will also feature the REAL ID compliant star symbol in the upper right-hand corner. However, the star won’t be gold and will have a black circle with the star shape in the middle. Both cards will also continue to have a person’s driver license number, name, address and other information, but will just look different than the current licenses and ID cards.
“The only thing we have done is upgraded our driver licenses and ID cards so they are more secure,” Dobson said.
The last time WYDOT updated its driver licenses and ID cards was in 2011 after the state became REAL ID compliant. The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) comes out with new security recommendations every few years to help states provide more secure licenses and ID cards that are difficult to counterfeit. WYDOT instituted those recommendations into the new licenses and ID cards.
WYDOT officials have been working on the new driver licenses and ID cards since April 2018. They also worked with the Wyoming Highway Patrol to ensure the new cards would work for law enforcement.
Motorists will receive the new licenses and ID cards when they apply for a new credential after their old card expires. However, if someone does want a new one before their old one expires, they will need to contact their local driver services office.
“We are asking the public for their patience and understanding as we transition to the new system,” Dobson said.
As reported earlier by Buckrail, lawmakers are also pursuing a digital driver’s license as well.
Do you have the REAL deal?
“Residents who are wondering if they have REAL ID compliant licenses just need to check the top right corner and to see if they have that star,” Dobson assured. “We’ve been issuing the REAL ID compliant licenses for a while now so most everyone should have them.”
REAL ID compliant driver licenses can be used to board commercial airplanes. Starting Oct. 1, 2020, all U.S. citizens will need a REAL ID compliant driver license or identification card, a passport or other documents approved by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Those who have state identification cards, as opposed to state driver licenses, will need to double-check to make sure they are REAL ID complaint. Prior to 2010, identification cards didn’t have an expiration date. However, state law changed and now identification cards expire every eight years, similar to driver licenses.
To double-check, residents who have identification cards need to look at the top right corner to see if there is a gold star. If there isn’t, they can visit their local WYDOT Driver Services location to apply for a new one.