PHOENIX – Less than a year ago, it was uncertain how long Arizona driver licenses and identification cards would continue getting residents through airport security. When a state law that took effect in July 2015 allowed the Arizona Department of Transportation to create a credential complying with the federal REAL ID Act, Motor Vehicle Division employees had to move quickly to make it happen.Today, the state has a Voluntary Travel ID and an assurance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that current credentials will be accepted at airports and restricted federal facilities until Oct. 1, 2020. In late April, federal officials formalized that by certifying the Voluntary Travel ID.
The achievement follows exhaustive work by MVD employees who, facing a deadline of April 1, 2016, created not only a credential meeting all 39 security requirements of the REAL ID Act but the processes and procedures needed to make it available to customers.
“Governor Ducey has challenged state agencies to operate at the speed of business, and our dedicated MVD team did just that to create this new Travel ID on such a tight schedule,” Motor Vehicle Division Director Eric Jorgensen said. “Thanks to their hard work, Arizonans now have time to decide if and when they want to get one.”
Sixty team members worked to create the new credential. Many wrote code within MVD’s computer system for the new ID and had to distinguish it from the standard driver license and ID card since state law gives people the option of getting a Travel ID, a process that took months to complete.
MVD also went through a series of tests with the vendor that prints Arizona’s driver licenses and ID cards to ensure the information was transmitting correctly. The vendor, in turn, had to ensure the credential would integrate with MVD systems. The computer system had to be tested as well to verify that records were being properly created.
“In addition to all of the computer programming, we had to train hundreds of staff members and Authorized Third Party employees to learn the new process for issuing the Voluntary Travel ID and develop new forms and policies as well,” MVD Driver License Specialist Madelene Carbajal said. “At the end of the day, we had dozens of employees spending thousands of hours on this project.”
Because the Voluntary Travel ID is in place and approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, there’s no rush for Arizonans to get one. Everyone applying for renewal or first-time driver licenses and ID cards has the option, and those who wish to convert current driver licenses and ID cards may do so at select MVD offices by making appointments at ServiceArizona.com. In addition, 24 Authorized Third Party partners offer driver licenses services and can convert existing licenses or IDs.
To learn more about the Voluntary Travel ID, please visit azdot.gov/TravelID.