A Kansas driver’s license is good for six years. Sort of.
Fresh from renewing her card this month, Mary Ann Grodowitz of De Soto will brave the DMV again in three years instead of waiting for her expiration date.
She’s not happy about it. The license she settled for last week won’t get her on an airplane (or a military base or selected federal facilities) after Sept. 30, 2020.
Grodowitz could have secured a more robust license, recognizable by a white star planted in a gold circle, if she’d fetched proof of her Social Security number and a certified birth certificate (a simple photocopy won’t work) or a valid U.S. passport.
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Since she’d already taken several hours off from work to get her license, Grodowitz settled for one marked “not for federal ID.”
“It’s very unfair,” she said. “It feels like the change wasn’t announced anywhere that you’d see it.”
Kansas, unlike Missouri, has been compliant with the federal Real ID rules — the regulations distinguishing what state-issued identification is recognized by the federal government and, most critically, for boarding commercial flights — since 2007.
But the feds have gradually upped the standards imposed on states. Kansas driver’s licenses issued before August will be recognized at airports and elsewhere through their expiration dates. Those issued beginning Aug. 1 will only be air-worthy in late 2020 if they were backed up with the extra ID.
Since 2011, the state has required the added identification — Social Security card plus real birth certificate or passport — for a new license or to replace a lost card. Renewals, however, didn’t need the extra documentation.
Now Kansans who show up for renewals without the backup ID will get a lesser license.
“I didn’t have it all with me,” said Susanne Kennyhertz of Lenexa as she walked out of the Mission driver’s license office. “It’s OK, but I’ll definitely have to come back by 2020.”
Roger Stroble came to the Mission office from his Wyandotte County home and renewed a license without the magic star, or much concern.
“I’m fine with this one,” he said. He doesn’t fly.
Lisa Kaspar, the director of vehicles for the Kansas Department of Revenue, said the office has seen a mix of irritation and indifference to the rules that kicked in on Aug. 1.
“A lot of people bring everything (documentation) anyway,” she said. “We’ve had a few that have just run home and gotten it. … We haven’t noticed a lot of people who were upset.”
Mike Schupp of Prairie Village was one of those who showed to renew his license at the Mission office on Wednesday, realized he needed more ID, and went home to fetch it. Because the office had computer crashes, the errand stretched from early morning to mid-afternoon.
“Everybody in there was really nice …,” he said, “but it was frustrating.”
Missouri licenses will still be good at airports and federal facilities through Oct. 10. The state adopted a new law this year that will ultimately bring it into compliance with the Real ID Act. But there’s some speculation that the Trump administration might act to change the law so that people from states such as Missouri could continue to board planes based on their driver’s licenses.
The Missouri Department of Revenue has estimated it will take two years to bring its system in line with the existing federal rules.