Fr. John's Letter Archives

Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.

How to Get a Gold Star!

07-14-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Consider this a Public Service announcement. After October 1, 2020 a valid AZ Driver's License or I.D will no longer be a valid form of I.D for Federal identification purposes. Which means you will not be able to use it as a form of identification to board an airplane in the US, enter a military installation, nuclear power plants or a Federal prison (as a visitor; for inmates fingerprints and mugshot will do!). However, you will still be able to use a valid Passport, DHS Trusted Traveler card, or permanent resident card at TSA checkpoints at airports. If you desire you can obtain a new AZ Traveler I.D. (driver's license or I.D. card) but there is no obligation to do so and your current valid AZ driver's license will still be fine to use for driving and other non-federal I.D. purposes. The reason for this is that AZ has to comply with the Real I.D Act passed by the US Congress in 2005. (AZ was granted some extensions but that will end in October 2020.)

The point of the AZ Traveler's License/I.D. is that it proves you are a US citizen or legal resident of the US. In order to obtain a Traveler's License or I.D. you will need to do some homework and gather some documents. These include one document as proof of citizenship or legal status in the US: a US birth certificate or valid US Passport or Immigration documents such as I-94 which has the Visa dates for your length of stay in the US or a Permanent Resident card. You will also need to provide your Social Security card or a W-2 with your Social Security number on it. Additionally, you also will need to provide two documents that establish your AZ residence such as a Utility Bill, Bank statement, your current valid AZ Driver's license or I.D card.

The fee for the AZ Traveler I.D is $25. The new Driver's License/I.D. card. is valid for 8 years or if you are a non-citizen for the length of the time stated on your Immigration document.

You also will need to fill out an Application for the new AZ Traveler I.D. and you can do that on-line as well as scheduling an Appointment at an MVD Office or at one of the listed authorized third parties that are authorized to accept the applications.

The web address with all the pertinent information is

I prefer to go to the local MVD Office, a bit more hectic but a lot more interesting! You get see a whole variety of people and emotions: from the excited young person who is applying for his or her driver's permit to the depressed driver who is paying off fines in hopes of getting his or her suspended license back and some really ticked off people who waited in line too long! Actually, since I made an appointment, from the time of my scheduled appointment until I was seen by an Agent was about 20 minutes and the process took about 10 minutes which includes getting your picture taken. I have to applaud the MVD staff, despite the chaotic atmosphere they retain their composure and are very polite. One note of caution, if you go to the Tempe MVD location, the parking lot is very small and you have to drive around and around until someone pulls out. So, give yourself plenty of time.

Now obviously you still have over a year to get the new AZ Traveler I.D., that is if you want to, again no requirement that you do, but you can imagine come next summer there will be a rush of people trying to get the I.D. which will make the wait really long. So, save yourself the headache and do it sooner rather than later.

The new AZ Traveler License/I.D. looks pretty much the same as the current version with one exception: in the righthand corner is a gold star. Its thrilling! Just like when you were in first grade and the teacher put a gold star on your test paper and you could run home and proudly show your parents! Now you can whip out your new AZ Traveler I.D. and impress your family and friends that you got a gold star from the State of Arizona!

What I envision is come October 1, 2020 there will be a lot of really mad people at Sky Harbor Airport who can't board a plane. So, don't be one of them!

Happy travels!

Fr. John B.