New Alaska state driver's licenses are out; here's what they look like and what they do

Published: Nov. 1, 2018 at 1:32 PM AKDT
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With preparations underway to get Alaska identification cards up to par for the Real ID Act, the DMV is rolling out new driver's licenses and state IDs with a new look and upgraded security.

The new cards will feature a number of updates in addition to an overhauled design. These changes include safety features to make the IDs harder to counterfeit.

"They're very secure and less likely to be fraudulently copied," said Marla Thompson, director of the Alaska DMV.

Thompson said the cards are made of a poly-carbonate, have a design that appears under black light, and are tactile with information being engraved and raised on the card. These all add up to increased security.

The new design and safety features aren't the only things that are different about the cards -- they're also set to be Real ID compliant in January of 2019.

The Real ID Act establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production, and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.

Until now, Alaska has pushed back deadlines to produce Real ID cards, but now the final deadline is approaching and the Alaska DMV is poised to roll out the new cards.

The deadline by which you absolutely need a Real ID-compliant form of identification (like a passport) in order to get through TSA and fly is October 1, 2020.

Starting in November, those people who need a new driver's license or ID due to their old one expiring will be able to get a card with the new design, but those won't be Real ID-compliant. That won't happen until Jan. 2, 2019.

In order to get the Real ID card or license, however, you'll need more information than just your old ID or license. You'll need the paperwork.

"The really important thing for people to know, is to get the Real ID-compliant ID card or driver's license, you'll need all the same documents you needed when you first got a license," Thompson said.

That means you'll need three things: a birth certificate or passport, a social security card or a W-2 or similar official document containing a social security number, and two pieces of official documents containing an address such as a piece of mail, a vehicle registration, or utility bill.

Once you have those, the cards will cost a little more than they did before, according to Thompson.

For those who get their new cards in November of 2018 up until January of 2019, an upgrade cost of $20 will apply to get the Real ID card starting Jan. 2.

For those just getting a new license or state ID after the Jan. 2 date, the license will cost $40, and the state ID will cost $35.

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