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Ohio Will Begin To Issue More Secure Driver's Licenses, But Only Through Mail

Ohio Department of Public Safety
The new federally compliant Ohio driver's license, which drivers can choose to get if they bring additional documentation.

Starting this summer, Ohio drivers won’t be able to pick up their license at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Ohio is getting ready to centralize license production to make cards more secure. The change takes effect in July 2, but BMV registrar Don Petit says much of the process will feel the same. 

Drivers will still show up at the local BMV to take pictures, present documents and pay fees.

"But instead of leaving with the actual license,” Petit explains, “they're going to leave that day with an interim driving privileges document that contains all of the same information as a drivers license including a photo."

New and renewing drivers will get the official license in the mail about 10 days after visiting the BMV. Ohio joins 41 other states in mailing licenses and state ID cards instead of printing them on location. Petit explains the move will bring the state into compliance with federal regulations.

“States that want their drivers license to be accepted by the federal government for certain purposes—you know, the easiest one being getting through TSA at the airport—will produce cards that comply with those federal standards," he says.

Airport security won’t require the new licenses until 2020. Drivers who hold a license that doesn’t expire until after then aren’t required to renew early. If they need to fly, TSA will accept other documents like a passport in place of a drivers license.

Those wanting a card that meets national travel security requirements would have to bring documents proving their name, date of birth, social security number, and address.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.