We all complain about the long lines and waits when applying for, or renewing, our driver’s license; but getting a new license is about to get a lot easier and more secure! The new license process began June 13, when the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles stopped handing customers a driver’s license card in their offices. All types of licenses will now be mailed to your home. Connecticut is not unique in implementing this process; more than 25 states nationally now mail these credentials. The new process also applies to Connecticut “Drive-Only” licenses.
The New Process: “Central Issuance”
Under the new process, called central issuance, you will no longer receive permanent driver’s license and ID cards in person at the office. Instead, you will keep your expiring license/ID card and also receive an interim paper license/ID. After fraud checks have been completed to ensure the customer’s identity, a newly designed and more secure driver license/ID will be produced at a secure facility and will arrive through mail within 20 days. Connecticut is not unique in implementing this process. More than 25 states nationally now mail these credentials.
Replacing Your Current License/ID
You do not need to replace your current card. It will remain valid until its expiration date. This means that for a few years there will be more than one valid driver license/ID until the old design completely phases out. However, the DMV advises the following for customers who have received a license or ID renewal notice: Don’t wait until the last minute to renew! DMV Commissioner Michael Bzdyra recommends coming into DMV “at least a week before your birthday, or even sooner, so that the new card arrives in your mailbox before the old one expires.”
New Card, More Security
The new process and redesigned card comes with many benefits. Some of the highlights include enhancing the security of customer identities, reducing opportunity for identity theft and making it more difficult to alter or counterfeit. One new feature of the card is the Real ID-verified credential designation, which will safeguard your personal information. These changes are in accordance with Connecticut’s security plan under the Real ID Act (passed by Congress in 2005) and as required by federal law.
According to the Department of Homeland Security website, the REAL ID program serves as an effort to recommend the Federal Government to “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” Connecticut is currently one of twenty-six states compliant with this Act.
Effective since 2015, Connecticut is one of a handful of states that issues Drive-Only licenses.
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) explains that in addition to the District of Columbia, twelve states—California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Vermont and Washington—will “issue a license if an applicant provides certain documentation, such as a foreign birth certificate, a foreign passport, or a consular card and evidence of current residency in the state.”
These licenses are for driving purposes only, and may not be used for identification, voting, travel or banking purposes. If you have a Drive-Only license, no one can discriminate against you. You are afforded the same privileges as other drivers, and you are held to the same requirements and standards.
Be aware of the new changes; with central issuance, you will receive a temporary paper license until your permanent Drive-Only license arrives in the mail.
For more information, please visit http://ct.gov/dmv.
And as we always say – pass it on!! Let your friends and family know of these important changes!
This article was written by Catherine Blinder, chief education and outreach officer of the Department of Consumer Protection of the State of Connecticut. To learn more about how the Department of Consumer Protection can help, visit us online at www.ct.gov/dcp.