Gold Star, Colorado Driver’s License
The gold star helps to verify the authenticity of the cards by federal agencies when the ID is used for an “official purpose“.
“Official purpose”, as defined by the Secretary of Homeland Security, includes presenting a state issued driver’s license or ID card for boarding federally regulated commercial airline flights and entering restricted and semi-restricted federal buildings, military bases and nuclear power plants.
If your Colorado driver’s license or ID card does not have a gold star in the top right hand corner, because it was issued before July 1, 2013, you do not need to renew your card until it expires. Customers will be able to renew online or in a driver’s license office once their cards expire. Your new card will have a gold star on it.
Gold Star, REAL ID Act
The gold star indicates that the card is compliant with increased security standards of the REAL ID Act of 2005, passed by Congress. All Colorado cards currently in circulation are REAL ID compliant. The REAL ID standards are being phased in over several years.
REAL ID is a coordinated effort by the states and the Federal Government to improve the reliability and accuracy of state-issued identification documents, which should inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification. REAL ID implements a 9/11 Commission recommendation urging the federal government to “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”
DHS is implementing REAL ID through a period of phased enforcement over the next several years. In particular, the date for implementing the prohibition on boarding aircraft travel will be set after an evaluation of earlier phases and will not occur sooner than 2016.
Update: See New Colorado Driver’s License Design, April 2016.