Maryland Unveils New Driver’s Licenses and I-D Cards

To safeguard personal information and protect against identity theft and fraud, the state of Maryland is introducing a new driver’s license and identification (ID) card that officials say is more secure.

MVA Drivers License 2That’s because the new cards feature multiple layers of security to help prevent identity theft and fraud.

“Marylanders will be protected against identity theft and fraud with these new cards,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn. “We are proud to safeguard their personal information.”

Examples of the security features include:

• Polycarbonate card body — more durable and tamper-resistant;
• Laser engraving — maximum protection against forgery;
• Changeable laser image — allows two or more images to occupy the same area;
• Tactile text — raised print making it difficult to tamper; and
• Inventory control number — a unique number and barcode to verify that the card was issued to the cardholder.

“This is an exciting day for the citizens of Maryland and for all those who serve our state in a public safety capacity,” said Lt. Colonel Anthony Satchell, Commander of the Field Operations Bureau of the Maryland State Police. “Together, we continue to improve efficiency, using enhanced technology and collaboration with our allied agencies to target criminal activity.”

The new cards meet all state and federal standards and are REAL ID compliant, consistent with the current cards issued by the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). Additionally, Veterans now have the opportunity to have the VETERAN designation appear on the front of their license or ID card.

“I know first-hand how proud Maryland Veterans will be to finally have the Veteran designation on the front of the new secure card,” said Veterans Affairs Secretary George Owings. “I want to thank the Department of Transportation for putting this important designation out front for those who have protected this nation, out front!”

To further enhance safety and security, all new products will be printed and mailed from a high-security MVA facility. A similar central mailing process is used to deliver U.S. Passports, credit cards and other important documents. Currently, 40-percent of all Maryland driver’s licenses and identification cards are mailed from a central MVA location. Printing and mailing cards from a central location enhances security by limiting access to card materials, equipment and personal information. More than 30 other states currently mail their driver’s licenses and ID cards to customers.

Customers will receive their new cards in the U.S. mail within 7 to 10 business days. The MVA also offers the option to receive cards the next day through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Because customers will receive their new card in the mail, officials strongly encourage Marylanders to ensure their correct address is on file at the MVA, which is consistent with Maryland law. The USPS does not forward MVA mail. Customers who need to update their address, should visit and type “address change” in the search box.

MVA will begin issuing the new cards for all learner’s permits and new ID cards, and for licenses/ID cards renewed via web, kiosk and U.S. mail starting June 20, 2016. Beginning July 11, 2016, everyone applying for a new driver’s license, learner’s permit or ID card will receive the new, more secure card. If a customer’s current license or ID is valid and not up for renewal, there is nothing they need to do until it’s time to renew.

After July 11, customers applying for the new driver’s license, learner’s permit or ID card will still visit an MVA office and go through the following steps:

• Bring any required documents;
• Take any tests required;
• Have photo taken; and
• Pay at this office.

At the end of the application process, customers will keep their existing card (if they have one) and receive an interim document (receipt), which is valid for 30 days. Customers will then receive their new card in the mail within 7-10 business days.

MVA Drivers License 1“As always, we encourage our customer to Skip the Trip and renew their driver’s license or ID card via web, kiosk and mail,” said MVA Administrator Christine Nizer. “If they choose any of these easy methods, there is no change to the current process.”

Whether at an MVA office or online, customers should keep their old card and receipt until their new secure card arrives in the mail within 7  -10 business days. Once the new card arrives, customers are strongly encouraged to destroy their old card – just as they would an old credit card when the new one arrives in the mail.

The new cards proudly feature iconic Maryland symbols, including the Chesapeake blue crab, Oriole bird and the State House. Maryland’s driver’s license was last updated in 2003, and the old technology is vulnerable to counterfeiting and fraud. To learn more about the new driver’s licenses and ID cards, visit the MVA website at

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Sonya Burke

About Sonya Burke

Sonya Burke is the Multimedia Manager at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at or reach her on Twitter @SonyaNBurke.


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