Updated credential example

This is an example of an updated Indiana identification card, which features a black-and-white photo, laser etching and better-organized information. (Photo provided)

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles is updating your credential cards — again. No, it’s not Real ID. These updates are supposed to make credentials — driver’s licenses, permits and identification cards — more secure, and information such as date of birth and address is better organized.

There are also some aesthetic changes. You can get an IndyCar race car or a cardinal on the bottom right of the card, and your photo is in black and white. The material is also more durable.

The state began issuing the updated cards at the Beech Grove branch in June, and they should be available at all locations across the state and online by mid-July.

This is what you need to know about the changes. 

Better security

The biggest change is an update in security features. The last time Indiana issued a new license was in 2007, and that’s a long time for counterfeiters to perfect their technique and steal your identity (or let 19-year-olds into bars).

These updated cards have more ultraviolet features. Unlike current cards, which have less ultraviolet markings, the updated cards have different patterns depending on which one it is, so what shows up on a driver’s license is different from what shows up on a learner’s permit.

The text on updated cards is laser etched, rather than printed. Stephen Leak, executive director of credential programs for the BMV, explained printer technology is much easier for a counterfeiter to get ahold of and use to replicate a credential than it is with laser technology.

Updated cards also have a raised date of birth, so you can feel it on the card. Leak said all of these features will hopefully make it more difficult for counterfeiters to replicate the cards, although he added Indiana has been lucky to not have experienced an uptick in fraud cases.

“We try to stay ahead of the game and not wait until we’re captured and have people who are out there counterfeiting cards,” he said.

How does this impact Real ID?

It doesn’t. If you haven’t updated your credential to Real ID, your new credential won’t automatically do that. To update to a Real ID, you basically have to pretend you’re going to the BMV for the first time.

That means showing up in person and having all the documents you would need normally, including one that proves your identity and two that prove your permanent address in Indiana. (A full list of required documents is listed at in.gov/bmv.)

The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, gave states minimum security standards for their credentials. Indiana introduced Real ID in 2010 and became the first state to reach federal compliance.

All states have until Oct. 1, 2020 to be in compliance. After that, federal agencies won’t accept non-compliant credentials. That includes the Transportation Security Agency, so you won’t be able to fly starting October 2020 if you’re not updated. Real ID cards have a star in the upper right corner.

How to update

Don’t worry about rushing out to get a new driver’s license or identification card. Your current one is still good until its expiration date, and as Leak noted, security hasn’t been a big problem in Indiana.

By mid-July, any BMV branch you go to should be ready to issue an updated credential. You may also be able to update online and at BMV Connect kiosks. But remember that if you don’t have a Real ID yet and want to upgrade, you’ll have to go to a branch with all of the required documents.


Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

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