Time is Running Out for Your Regular Louisiana Driver’s License
It looks as if the State of Louisiana has inadvertently entered "we the people" into a race. That race is between our driver's license and our state automobile inspection stickers. I suppose we are just in a quandary over which one of those state-issued "documents" will fade away, come unglued, or be designated as "worthless" first.
Let's take a look at the inspection sticker conundrum before we get to the driver's license issue in Louisiana. The sticker solution is quite easy to solve. According to reports, the state got a "bad batch" of inspection stickers some two or three years ago.
Those stickers have been known to become unglued on the windshield of your car. As they curl up in the summer heat they become impossible to read. Which renders them useless. You can fix that issue with some clear or transparent tape. No member of Louisiana law enforcement is going to give you grief for taping your inspection sticker in your car, especially if they can see it's peeling on its own.
How Can My Regular Louisiana Driver's License Become Invalid?
First, you need to stop thinking of that plastic card as a license to drive. It is a valid state-issued photo ID. Having it in your possession with certain conditions attached to it allows you to legally operate a motor vehicle in the state. But, the real job of that card is to verify your identity and that's where a "regular license" is about to become outdated.
To better maintain vigilance over our population the United States Federal Government has told states that for a state-issued ID to be valid on the federal level certain conditions must be met. The result of those discussions and legislation has led to the Real ID. It requires a bit more documentation than your ability to negotiate a four-way stop and parallel park.
A Real ID can be obtained through the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles but you have to be there in person and you must bring the proper documents. It will cost you $32.25 to get the "gold star" in the corner.
Once you get that "gold star" you can then use your Louisiana Driver's license to board commercial aircraft, enter certain federal facilities, and go into a nuclear power plant. There are some other "perks" if you will but for most of us, getting on a plane is the main reason you'd want to transition to a Real ID sooner rather than later.
Do I Have to Get a Real ID?
Yes. The deadline for compliance has been pushed back again so you still have a little bit of time before your "regular" license is outdated. The deadline for Real ID compliance in Louisiana is May 7, 2025. Chances are you might need to renew your license between now and then anyway. Take my advice, and get the Real ID when you do. It's coming and there is nothing we can do to stop it.
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Gallery Credit: Bruce Mikells