The first gold-star driver’s licenses issued in Colorado under the 2005 federal Real ID Act aimed at improving homeland security were mailed this week.
Under the legislation, driver’s licenses that have an embedded gold star will pass muster with federal agencies that require identification.
“We’ve made them tamper-proof, duplication-proof, and they can’t be counterfeited,” Natriece Bryant with the state Division of Motor Vehicles said. “The gold star will be embedded in new licenses or when a resident renews.”
The gold star will be found in any of the dozen or so licenses issued by her office, Bryant said.
Drivers currently licensed who want a gold star card will have to apply for a new license, she said.
The gold star assures federal agencies that the license holder has been vetted. Meanwhile, licenses without the gold star will be accepted as valid identification.
“It’ll take a request to get a gold-star license or it will be dictated by the calendar,” said an employee who answered the phone at the driver’s license office in Bodo Industrial Park in Durango. “The rollout will take time, so we won’t see one here for a while.”
The Real ID Act imposed certain standards governing verification of documents, security and fraud prevention, retention and storage, immigration requirements and linking of state driver-license databases.
The act was signed by George Bush in May 2005. But the date for enforcement was extended at least twice in order to gain support from states.
States can issue identification that doesn’t comply with the federal guidelines as long they have a unique design and a clear statement that they can’t be accepted as federal identification.
Thirteen states had driver’s licenses in compliance with federal standards, Bryant said.
Last year, Colorado issued 1.3 million assorted driver’s licenses and identification cards, Bryant said.