Washington driver’s licenses will have a new look starting this week.
Standard licenses and identification cards will be marked with “Federal Limits Apply” to indicate the card is not valid for federal identification purposes and cannot be used to board airplanes or enter federal facilities in October 2020.
The change is to bring Washington state under compliance with the REAL ID Act, which requires all states mark identification documents that don’t comply with federal law.
The REAL ID Act was passed in 2005 and mandates state driver's licenses and ID cards to have security enhancements and be issued to people who can prove they're legally in the United States. Washington state’s standard licenses and ID cards do not meet those requirements, but the state’s enhanced licenses and ID cards do.
More driver’s license changes will come in September. Beginning September 4, all newly issued or renewed driver’s licenses and ID cards will have different license numbers will begin with WDL followed by nine random characters and numbers. This format helps protect personal information, because it doesn’t correspond to a person’s name or birthdate, like the current format, according to the Department of Licensing.
The DOL expects to be in compliance with the REAL ID Act in fall 2018.
Washington residents can continue to use standard driver’s licenses and ID cards for air travel until October 1, 2020. After that deadline, travelers will either need an enhanced driver’s license, passport, or passport card for domestic flights. The deadline was extended from October 2018 earlier this year.
The enhanced license takes two to three weeks to process. You must provide proof of citizenship – bringing your old license won't be enough. You have to go into one of the selected Department of Licensing offices get the enhanced license.