Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Driver's license office closure scheduled; driver’s licenses will change

Idaho driver's licenses and identification (ID) cards will have a new look, state-of-the-art security features, and a new way of being issued beginning this summer.

To prepare for the transition, the county licensing office in Orofino will close Monday, June 20 for staff training, equipment upgrades and installation. Schedules are subject to change. Similar equipment upgrades are happening at all of Idaho's 53 county driver licensing locations between May and July.

The updated system will help protect drivers and ID card holders from identity theft and fraud by incorporating security features that are nearly impossible to counterfeit. The switch also means cards will be issued from a central secure location instead of over-the-counter.

With this new central issuance process, applicants leave the county office with a temporary paper document, valid for 30 days. The new plastic license or ID card is produced at the central production facility and mailed to the customer within about 10 business days. Because it is mailed, it will be critical for applicants to provide a correct address.

The temporary card is issued for driving and identity purposes until the new plastic card arrives in the mail. It includes a photo, the same information that appears on the plastic card (name, address, date of birth, height, weight, etc.), and a machine-readable bar code containing that information.

Current Idaho licenses or ID cards remain valid through their expiration date; however, individuals can opt to renew a license or ID card within one year of the expiration date.

There's no additional cost to the consumer. License and ID card fees remain the same: $30 for as four-year license and $55 for an eight-year license (if it's within a year of expiration); $15 for duplicate licenses; $10 or $20 for ID cards. Individuals with valid licenses or ID cards that are not within the one-year renewal window have the option of surrendering the card and applying for a duplicate card.

All other license and ID card application processes will remain basically unchanged. Fees for all driver’s licenses and ID cards will also remain the same.

The new cards incorporate numerous security features, including micro-printing, ghost images and a laser-perforated pattern that reveals the shape of Idaho when held to the light.  Not all security features are evident, and the enhanced security features make it obvious when a card has been tampered with.

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