(Post updated March 13, 2:13pm with new sample driver license image)
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, including: 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.
A flyer is available to learn more about these changes and to make sharing this valuable information easy.
NEW LOOK DOCUMENTS NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE
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.
BUT WHAT ABOUT MY CURRENT DRIVER LICENSE OR ID CARD?
You might be wondering, So, what about my current driver license?
Kohler said people don’t need to worry because 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 LICENSE WILL NO LONGER HAVE A PHOTO
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).”
“HOW CAN WE IMPROVE THE EXPERIENCE FOR THE CUSTOMER?”
Kohler said the process of updating the state’s Central Issuance System also presented an opportunity at its licensing offices.
“It was great opportunity for us to look at process improvement, and look at how our customers flowed through the office,” she said.
A decision was made to change that flow.
Upon arriving at a licensing office, a customer’s first contact will now be with someone who will review their documents.
Kohler said this change is aimed at ensuring the customer arrived with the correct documentation needed for obtaining a driver license or ID card.
“This will save our customers a lot of time,” Kohler enthused. “They won’t have to sit around and wait, then come up and find out that they didn’t have the required documents. They’ll immediately be able to find that out and be able to know what they need to come back with. And at the same time, it doesn’t back up the line.”
Expect to see this new customer flow, wherein documents are reviewed upon the customer’s arrival, at all licensing offices by this summer.
State begins rolling out six-year driver licenses on February 10
Beginning February 10, all new driver license applicants will receive a license that’s valid for six years, as the Department of Licensing starts transitioning from a five-year to a six-year driver license.
New driver license applicants include individuals applying for their first license and those who are transferring their licenses from another state.
The per-year cost for a driver license will remain at $9 per year, but new applicants will pay for the additional year, which changes the fee from $45 to $54, not including the $35 application fee.
Adding a new motorcycle endorsement for up to six years will cost $2 per year.
Washingtonians who are obtaining their first Washington state ID cards will also be issued a card valid for six years beginning on February 10, at a cost of $54, or $9 per year.
Those renewing a current Washington driver licenses or ID cards will start transitioning to a six-year renewal period later this year.
In 2012, the Washington State Legislature authorized extending driver’s license terms from five to six years to improve customer service by reducing customer volumes and wait times in driver license offices.
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Posted by DOL Blog
Some drivers fooled by third-party license renewal offers
Several websites targeting drivers across the country are promising easy online driver license renewals, but appear to be delivering little except credit card charges.
These companies, which appear to be located in foreign countries, are using paid advertising results on the major Internet search providers like Google and Yahoo to lure customers away from the official Department of Licensing (DOL) website. This is leading to extra fees paid to unknown companies who appear to be offering little more than services already available for free using the official DOL website.
Customers have reported these sites are charging as much as $35 dollars for “customer service” assistance in renewing a driver license. In addition many of these customers suspect these sites have sold their personal information to others for marketing purposes.
DOL posted a video on YouTube this week explaining that these websites are not associated in any way with DOL.
Doing business online with DOL and other government agencies is fast, easy and secure, but know these simple tips to make sure you are doing business with us and not an imitator:
- Access to DOL information and forms is free on the DOL website.
- Whenever you look at search results, keep in mind that the first several results may be paid advertising. Don’t just click on the first link; take a moment to examine your search results and pick carefully. If you need to do business with DOL, choose one that includes our “wa.gov” domain in the website address.
- Take time to read the fine print. These sites are taking advantage of the fact that people seldom read disclaimers on websites.