That’s the symbol that appears on driver’s licenses and identification cards issued after the person’s identity has been confirmed by documented proof as spelled out in The Real ID Act of 2005.
“We are in compliance,” said Susan Sport, spokeswoman for the Department of Driver Services. “And as long as the state is in compliance, our citizens’ licenses are still good on Jan. 15.”
Under the REAL ID Act, only people with verified identification will be able to fly, enter federal buildings or otherwise conduct business with the federal government. After initially balking, Georgia legislators put the new standards into effect this July.
But don’t expect calls for “papers please” next year. Requirements for individuals to actually have secure IDs don’t start phasing in until the end of 2014.
No one with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security public information office would speak on the record about the issue, but an official confirmed on background that the deadline applies only to states.
“The December 2014 and December 2017 dates remain in effect, at which time the individual must have a REAL ID driver’s license or identification document if an individual chooses to provide a driver’s license for an official purpose, such as boarding a commercial aircraft,” she said in an emailed response to a query.
The December 2014 deadline applies to people younger than 50, while older people have through December 2017 to update their identification.
Sport said the REAL ID verifications are happening as drivers renew their licenses or new drivers apply, but it’s unclear if everyone in the younger group will have gold star identification by the time December 2014 rolls around.
“At this point we don’t know if we’ll have to bring anyone back in, but we’re monitoring it very closely,” she said.
The DDS has created a checklist for residents renewing licenses or state-issued identity cards.
Everyone will have to provide certified, original documents — at least one to prove identity, one to prove your Social Security number and two to prove your residential address.
Sport said name-changes from marriages and divorces also have to be documented.
DHS has posted frequently asked questions on its website at http://www.dhs.gov/secure-drivers-licenses