JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A small update to your driver’s license could have a big impact if you don’t have it and want to travel next year. We’re talking about REAL ID. It’s meant to be an added security feature before you board a flight. But if you don’t get out your wallet and check before October 1, 2020, it may just cause you a headache.
“1.2 million drivers that still need to become compliant with the gold star,” said DPS Driver Services Marketing and Development Director Becky Pierson.
If you’ve gotten your Mississippi driver’s license in the last year, you should have the little gold star in the upper right hand corner of the license. If not, you’ve got some time.
“We’re asking them to go ahead and get their license renewed or get a duplicate," noted Pierson. "They can come into our offices or go online and make it an easy process.”
Since Tuesday made it one year until the change takes effect, efforts to better inform the public are ramping up.
“We were actually the first state to become REAL ID compliant," Pierson said. "So we’re in the process now, we’re wanting to avoid that rush and not frighten people at all. We do have a full year for people to come in. So, we’re not expecting a big rush. We’re wanting them to go ahead and gradually do it now.”
The hope is that a combination of online renewals and the new pilot program allowing you to make online appointments to go into a driver license station will also cut down on any rush. But the expiration date impacts what your next steps are if you’re lacking the update.
“You can renew up to six months up to your expiration date," explained Pierson. "So you don’t have to wait till your license expires.”
So what if your license doesn’t expire till say 2021? You’ll need to request a duplicate license. That’ll cost you $11, but that’s no comparison to the cost of a flight you wouldn’t be able to board without the updated identification.
You don’t have to worry about the gold star for things like voting, driving and everyday activities. This would be for flights and federal buildings.