Changes coming to Hawaii driver’s licenses and ID cards


The next time you renew your driver’s license or state ID, it will come with a new look.

Starting on Jan. 16, new Hawaii driver’s licenses and state identification cards will be marked with a star in a gold circle.

The change was made to comply with the REAL ID Act of 2005.

What is REAL ID?

“Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards. States have made considerable progress in meeting this key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission and every state has a more secure driver’s license today than before the passage of the Act.”

Originally, the Department of Homeland Security said states did not have to put the “star in a gold circle” marking on their compliant driver’s license and identification cards as long as those states followed the marking requirements for non-compliant credentials. But the department recently changed its policy to make it easier for federal agencies to recognize REAL ID compliant credentials.

If you just renewed your license or ID, state officials say not to worry.

“The main thing is we don’t want people to feel compelled and get this new license with the gold star and circle if their license or ID card is not coming up for expiration,” said Department of Transportation spokesman Tim Sakahara. “If it is coming up for expiration, by all means go get that done in a timely manner.”

According to DHS, every person traveling domestically on a commercial airline will need to present a REAL ID compliant credential or another acceptable form of identification by Oct. 1, 2020.

HDOT is working with DHS on continued acceptance of Hawaii’s current unmarked REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards as identification for official federal purposes.Click here for more information.

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