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Five Facts About New Texas Driver’s Licenses

Texas is releasing new driver’s licenses and identification cards. What does that mean? Is yours defunct? 

Here are the basics you need to know.

1. They look different 

They are designed to be harder to forge. “The new DL and ID cards will be made of polycarbonate material, which is more tamper-resistant and harder to reproduce, and feature laser engraving,” the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a news release.

In addition, there is more information on the cards including identifiers for veterans and people who have medical conditions that may make communication difficult.

2. REAL ID Gold Star

The new licenses will also be compliant with the federal government REAL ID Act, which coming in October, determines who can pass through TSA lines at airports. Check your current ID. If it has a gold star, you’re good to go. If it does not, you will need to renew your license by Oct. 1. Travelers who have gold stars on their passports will still be able to fly using them as identification. If you are planning to fly on or after Oct. 1, make sure your ID has the gold star. Renewing your license to get the gold star does not cost any additional funds as Texas has been issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses since 2016.

3. Will my old ID be invalid?

Your license is valid until the expiration date. The only new restriction is the upcoming gold star deadline. As always when there is a license redesign, be ready for bouncers and bartenders to check IDs.

4. New identifiers

If you’d like to take advantage of the new identifiers available, it’s easy. People with medical conditions that make communications difficult will need to fill out this form and get a letter from a licensed physician. Veterans and disabled veterans must fulfill these criteria

As always, signing up to be an organ donor involves merely checking a box and does not cost extra. Over 100,000 people are on organ waiting lists in America, and you could save a life.

If you would like the minor identifier, you need to be under 18.  

5. Do the new IDs have chips that spy on us?

No, these new cards don’t have that kind of feature. These are just slightly-fancier IDs, nothing more.

Bonus: Voting ID needs in Texas

As long as you are checking your ID, remember that if you wish to vote in the general election in November, Texas now requires you to have an ID. For more information on what you need to know to vote in Texas, click here

Jef Rouner
Jef Rouner
Jef Rouner is an award-winning freelance journalist, the author of The Rook Circle, and a member of The Black Math Experiment. He lives in Houston where he spends most of his time investigating corruption and strange happenings. Jef has written for Houston Press, Free Press Houston, and Houston Chronicle.

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