Beginning in June 2014, Alaska will issue a newly designed drivers license and state identification card. The process for obtaining these cards will also change slightly. The modifications are intended to enhance the security of the licenses and ID cards, making them more difficult to counterfeit.
The new process for procuring drivers licenses and ID cards is called Central Issuance, is considered a best practice, and is used by 26 other states. Central Issuance simply means that when the applicant visits the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office to renew his license, the DMV will provide a temporary ID card, and the permanent card will arrive from a secure consolidated facility in 2-4 weeks via U.S. mail. The cards will be issued by Marquis ID Systems of Fort Wayne, Indiana; backup printing facilities are in Hawaii. The temporary ID cards include a link to status tracking information for the permanent ID.
In addition to the expected data fields (name and address, license number, date of birth, and basic biographical information), the new Alaska license and state ID cards include a bevy of enhanced security features:
- A ghosted secondary photograph
- A graphic design with fine lines and overlapping spirals
- A clear window in the shape of the state
- Microtext not visible to the naked eye
- Optional Donor and Veteran labels
- 2D Barcode encoding front-side data
- Additional Date of Birth field on the back of the card
- Unique laminate featuring snowflakes and the state seal
These features, as well as the Central Issuance process, will better protect Alaskans from identify theft and license forgeries. Current licenses and state ID cards are still valid until they expire.