Arkansas is set to begin offering new enhanced drivers licenses and ID cards, a move that will help protect individual identities and bring the state in line with federal standards.

The new enhanced licenses and ID cards are being issued in response to federal REAL ID Act, which imposes stricter guidelines for some state-issued drivers’ licenses and identification cards.

As Gov. Asa Hutchinson points out below, state-issued drivers’ licenses and ID cards play a major role in protecting individual identities and preventing fraud.

"From my time at the Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security, I know the importance of accurate and secure personal identification," Hutchinson said. "Today’s announcement means Arkansas is doing its part to improve the security of its state-issued licenses and IDs and to combat identity fraud."

Enhanced licenses will be more difficult to tamper with and will require increased background checks for applicants, said Walter Anger, assistant revenue commissioner for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

"The intent here is to increase the security of the license and the person carrying it," Anger said. "This is a major step in protecting the identity of the individual and ensuring that licenses and ID cards are issued properly and to the right person."

Under federal rules, individuals wishing to board aircraft for commercial passenger flights will need to present an enhanced ID by October 2020. Similar rules will restrict access to federal buildings and installations. Enhanced drivers licenses will be available at 25 revenue offices statewide, beginning Oct. 3. Standard drivers’ licenses and identification cards, such as those currently issued, will still be available after October..