With its last design update thirteen years ago in 2003, the Maryland driver’s license and identification (ID) card has become vulnerable to forgery, fraud, and identify theft. In an effort to deter these illicit activities, and actively protect citizens’ personal information, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) proudly revealed a new secure card design earlier this month.
Perhaps the most obvious design change in the documents is the fine-line background graphic, reminiscent of the Maryland state flag. Additional changes and upgraded security features include:
- Cardholder’s photo and other data is laser-engraved to protect against manipulation and fraud, and allow those working in low-light conditions a tactile test of authenticity
- Changeable laser image in upper right hand corner that allows two images to occupy the same spot
- Variable iconic background images such as the Chesapeake blue crab, the Oriole bird, and the Maryland state house
- Birth date appears twice on the front of the card
- A full-color cardholder photo appears on the back of the document
- 2D barcode on the back of the card protects and confirms citizens’ information
- Inventory control number and barcode on back of card confirm cardholder identity
The new driver’s licenses and ID cards will be constructed from polycarbonate, which should prove more durable and tamper-resistant than previous materials. U.S. veterans can also have their veteran status displayed on the front of the document for immediate recognition.
New driver’s licenses and ID cards will be issued in a way similar to U.S. passports; that is, they will be mailed directly to the applicant via the USPS from a secure and central printing location. This central issuance process limits access to card materials, printing equipment, and residents’ personal information, and is already in place in over thirty states. New cards should arrive within 7-10 business days.
Current Maryland licenses and ID cards remain valid until expiration and drivers don’t need to apply for the updated cards unless their personal information changes or renewal is due. Despite the new design, the fees for renewal will remain unchanged, at $6/year.
To view informational brochures about the new cards, please see the following: