Washington driver licenses, ID cards get new look

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SEATTLE — Washington state is beginning to issue newly designed driver licenses and ID cards aimed at better protecting residents from identity theft.

“This new card system has incredible security features in it that will really decrease the number of counterfeit cards that exist in the world,” said Pat Kohler, director of the state’s Department of Licensing.

Those security features include fine-line printing and ultraviolet ink.

Retailers, banks, and law enforcement officers will look for those features to determine the card’s authenticity.

The new cards will also have a color-coded header depending on whether it's a regular license, commercial or enhanced, or an ID card. There's also an indicator printed over the smaller "ghost" photo, that identifies if a person is 18 or 21 years old.

The state says they will begin rolling out the new cards over the next several months, beginning with the licensing office in Shelton.

“And sometime this summer, we would finish the roll-out at all of our 56 offices,” Kohler said.

The new licenses and ID cards have a new look, but their functions haven’t changed.

The Enhanced Driver Licenses and Enhanced ID Cards (EDLs/EIDs) can be used for all federal identification purposes, including: entering secure federal facilities and, following the January 2018 federal compliance deadline, boarding domestic flights at commercial airports.

Standard driver licenses and ID cards are still not valid for these federal purposes.