The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles has begun issuing new, more secure driver’s licenses and ID cards at its Cranston and Woonsocket DMV locations, as of Tuesday, July 19, 2016. This is the first Rhode Island license design update since 2003, and the new Rhode Island licenses and IDs will be rolled out to residents as their current IDs/licenses expire over the next five years.

New Rhode Island driver's license design


By mid-August, all Rhode Island DMV branches, including AAA and online license renewals will feature the new license and ID card style on all Rhode Island driver’s licenses (both commercial and regular operator) and state identification cards.

For residents who aren’t yet in possession of the new Rhode Island license and IDs, their current cards will remain valid until they expire, at which time they will be replaced with the new design. No further action is required, and license fees will not change.

New Rhode Island Driver’s License Visual features

The new Rhode Island licenses and ID cards feature the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge in the background with a sailboat and sea gulls.

Federally compliant security features include:

  • Optically variable patterns: state name, state seal, an anchor and stars that appear to shift when viewed from varying angles.
  • Large primary license-holder photo, paired with a smaller “ghost” portrait.
  • Multiple data locations: cardholder’s birth date is placed in three locations.
  • UV (UltraViolet) ink: special ink that glows when exposed to UV light
  • “Document discriminator”: includes inventory control number and barcode.
  • Tamper-resistant material

In addition to the roll-out of the new licenses, the Rhode Island DMV will also implement “the installation of cameras at work stations at DMV and AAA offices around the state,” by the end of summer, a recent press release indicated. “The cameras are part of a streamlined process that will be introduced with the new cards. Instead of having to go to two work stations to complete their transactions, all work can be done at one station.” Security and convenience is the way ahead for Rhode Island residents. Which state will be next?

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