Got a new driver license in the mail with a gold star on it? Here’s why

ST. GEORGE — Have you recently received a new Utah driver license or identification card in the mail and aren’t quite sure why, particularly when it’s not set to expire for a few years? It’s likely the card has something new on it – a gold star on the front in the upper right-hand corner.

So, what’s that all about?

It has to do with Utah becoming compliant with the Real ID Act passed by Congress in 2005. The law requires that a gold star appear on a person’s state-issued ID or driver’s license by Oct. 1, 2020, in order to be allowed to board planes for domestic flights or enter federal facilities, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety.

The gold star designates the ID as a valid form of federal identification.

Utah rolled out a media campaign to inform residents about the gold star last year. New and renewed licenses and ID cards began receiving the gold star in January.

Those with licenses and IDs that renew before Oct. 1, 2020, will get the gold star through the regular renewal process.

However, those who have licenses and IDs that expire after Oct. 1, 2020, are receiving new licenses and IDs in the mail stamped with the gold star. The expiration date on these cards remains the same.

These replacement license and ID cards are free. A new card will usually take eight to 10 weeks to arrive in the mail.

The Utah Department of Public Safety advises those still expecting new licenses and ID cards through the mail to make sure their addresses are up to date with the state so the new cards are sent to the correct address. State mail cannot be forwarded, according to the department.

Travelers can continue to use their current licenses and IDs for domestic flights and federal facilities up to Oct. 1, 2020. After that, documents with the gold star will be required.

Additional information can be found on the Utah Department of Public Safety website.