New marking to appear on driver’s licenses, IDs

  • Effective Tuesday, REAL ID compliant Hawaii driver's licenses and state ID cards will be issued with a "star in a gold circle" marking.
  • Effective Tuesday, REAL ID compliant Hawaii driver's licenses and state ID cards will be issued with a "star in a gold circle" marking.

HILO — Hawaii’s REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses and state identification cards will be issued with a new “star in a gold circle” marking starting Tuesday.

The new marking is to meet a federal policy intended to make REAL ID compliant credentials more easily recognizable.


Hawaii’s current unmarked REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses (which don’t have a gold star) can be used without any issues until Oct. 1, 2020.

The state Department of Transportation, meanwhile, is working with the Department of Homeland Security to develop a plan for “continued acceptance” of those unmarked licenses after 2020 until all those license holders have “cycled through and received ones with a gold star,” DOT spokeswoman Shelly Kunishige said on Tuesday.

“The date is 2020, so if there’s a need for people to come in and get a duplicate ID with a gold star, we would let them know,” Kunishige said.

Passed in 2005, the federal REAL ID law requires that state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards must meet federal security enhancements before the cardholder can use it to enter federal facilities or to board commercial airlines.

The law was passed in response to terrorism attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 and aims to prevent terrorism.

Hawaii was among states determined to be fully compliant with the law. However, unlike many compliant states, Hawaii licenses do not have a gold star marking.

The DHS initially did not require the gold star marking. However, DHS recently changed its policy in order to give federal agencies “an easier means of recognizing REAL ID compliant credentials,” according to a DOT release.


Starting Tuesday, applicants will have to select which credential (either their driver’s license or state ID card) will be marked with the “star in a gold circle.” Federal and state law allow a person to have only one REAL ID compliant credential.

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