Starting in June 2014, Alaskans will no longer be able to go into the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and exit with a new permanent ID in hand. The state will begin using a process known as Central Issuance, in which an applicant will receive a sturdy paper temporary ID good for 60 days, while he waits 2-4 weeks for the permanent license or ID card to arrive in the mail. The permanent licenses will be manufactured by Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Marquis ID Systems; they also have facilities in Hawaii. The permanent licenses and ID cards will all originate at a secure centralized facility, with the goal of better protecting the identities of Alaskans.
Alaska DMV director Amy Erickson said both the new process for obtaining driver’s licenses and the new design of the cards will safeguard against counterfeiting. She also noted that Alaska’s current driver’s licenses are some of the most commonly faked in the country due to their “unsophisticated design”. Security enhancements on the new driver’s licenses and state ID cards include:
- Updated, detailed graphic design of Mount McKinley
- Microtext invisible to the naked eye that is difficult to counterfeit
- Laminate surface with a snowflake and the state seal of Alaska
- Ghosted photo of the applicant in addition to primary photo
- Complex graphic design and overlapping spirals over the text fields
- Clear window in the shape of Alaska
- 2D barcode on the back
- Supplementary date of birth field on back of card
Rolling out the newly designed driver’s licenses and state ID cards should make counterfeiting much more difficult and better protect the identities of Alaskans. However, current licenses are still valid until the expiration date. See below for more information.