New Maryland flag-themed driver's licenses to be mailed only

The Baltimore Sun
New Maryland flag-themed licenses can be renewed online, will be issued by mail only.

Marylanders will no longer be able to pick up their driver's licenses and identification cards at Motor Vehicle Administration offices beginning Monday.

Officials issued a reminder Thursday that the state's new Maryland flag-themed security-boosted cards will be exclusively mailed from one secure location.

In addition to online, residents can still apply for renewals at MVA offices, but cards will be mailed to their homes. Office visitors will get a receipt, valid for 30 days, which will serve as a stand-in until their card arrives in their mailbox.

The state's new cards require materials and printing techniques that are too complex for the printers currently in use at MVA offices across the state, said Christine Nizer, a MVA Administrator.

MVA announced a $3.5 million redesign, intended to guard against identity theft and counterfeiting, to its driver's licenses and identification cards in May.

The new cards will feature a range of security measures: a poly-carbonate card body, with laser engraving and changeable laser imaging to protect against forgery, and tactile text — raised print to make names and addresses difficult to alter. Each card will have an inventory control number and bar code for verification purposes.

"The technology is very sophisticated," Nizer said. "The new cards must be made at a centralized facility."

MVA currently mails about 40 percent of its cards, she said.

An earlier version misstated when the Motor Vehicle Administration announced that it would be mailing the state's new security-boosted cards from one location. The Sun regrets the error.

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