Q: What does the gold star on my new driver’s license mean?

A: Texas is part of the REAL ID ACT program, which sets a standard for federally acceptable IDs to combat terrorism, identity theft and other crimes, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s website.

DPS began issuing the new cards on Oct. 10, 2016. If your card was replaced then or after 2016, it will be compliant. If you need to renew your card, the new one will have the star.

Congress passed the REAL ID act in 2005 in a response to the terror attack on 9/11. It was a “part of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror and the Tsunami Relief Act and was passed by the U.S. Congress in 2005,” DPS said.

It requires states to adopt uniform standards for state issued driver’s licenses and IDs to be used by the federal government.

Starting in October 2020, IDs without the gold star won’t be acceptable as identification to enter federal buildings or to fly. However, if you don’t fly or visit federal offices, a valid ID without a star can still be used for state purposes like driving, banking and voting, DPS said. It can also be used for driving on any other national road.

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