18-01-2018 – REAL ID: Fact or myth #3

Every state must produce REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses with a completely new design and security features


 It varies by state and territory


This is because the Department of Homeland Security requires only that the cards meet certain security standards. Some DMVs started issuing driver’s licenses and ID cards that met REAL ID standards even before they began offering REAL ID-compliant licenses to drivers in their state. In those cases, the new, REAL ID-compliant licenses look the same as those recently issued, except that most of the new cards have some kind of REAL ID indicator, such as gold or black star symbols. Other states have introduced REAL ID-compliant licenses with entirely new designs and security features,  compared to previous versions.

A few states issue cards that look, to the naked eye, similar to the most recent version but in fact have a slightly different UV image or other security feature to distinguish it as REAL ID-compliant.


Texas is one example of a state that didn’t change its DL design, but changed the UV image and added a star cutout/gold circle, when it began issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses.

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