Arizona going to new driver's license format

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By Matthew Seeman By Matthew Seeman
By Matthew Seeman By Matthew Seeman
By Matthew Seeman By Matthew Seeman
By Matthew Seeman By Matthew Seeman
By Matthew Seeman By Matthew Seeman

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona is rolling out a newly designed driver's license in the coming months and will no longer issue permanent new licenses at Motor Vehicle Division offices.

The new policy being implemented June 16 means drivers going to a Motor Vehicle Division office for a new license will instead get a temporary one. The new permanent card then will be mailed within two weeks.

That makes it especially important that people getting a new license or identification card provide an accurate, up-to-date mailing address on their applications, division Director Stacey Stanton said.

That temporary ID might not be accepted as proof of identity in by all organizations, but most drivers who renew before their licenses expire should not have to worry about that because the Motor Vehicle Division doesn't require old licenses to be surrendered.

A spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, Nico Melendez, said Friday that the temporary IDs should be accepted at airport checkpoints. In fact, he noted, even passengers who show up with no identification can be screened in most cases using TSA databases to confirm their identity.

"We understand people get their purses stolen, their wallets lost, so there is a level of understanding that sometimes people don't have their ID," Melendez said.

The changes are needed to implement new security features for licenses and state-issued identity cards. Cards will have a larger personal portrait, a laser perforation shaped like Arizona and a raised date-of-birth imprint to make the cards harder to forge, more secure from identity theft and easier to identify. But it also means same-day issuance at a Motor Vehicle Division office is no longer possible.

"The complexity of the new credential, and the security features and processes in place, don't make it feasible to produce the permanent credential in offices for same-day issuance," Stanton said in a statement.

Some Motor Vehicle Division offices and all contractor facilities that issue licenses already mail them. But all offices statewide will switch to the new issuing system in mid-June.

Old licenses will be good until their expiration dates, so for as long as the 12-year-old version of Arizona driver's licenses will be in circulation. The Motor Vehicle Division said licenses and ID cards will be replaced as they expire with the new versions.

The new temporary driver's license or ID card will contain a photo and the basic information that appears on the permanent license.

The Motor Vehicle Division says the system of centralized license issuance is already used by most states to accommodate the higher security features of their cards.

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