Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTOP) Updates Driver’s License Format to Emphasize Puerto Rico’s Status as a US Territory
In an effort to alleviate the inconvenience faced by many Puerto Ricans when presenting their driver’s licenses for identification purposes, the Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTOP) has announced a format change that will clearly identify Puerto Rico as a territory of the United States. The move aims to minimize confusion and ensure smoother procedures for citizens.
Engineer Eileen Vélez Vega, the Secretary of DTOP, stated, “As is public knowledge, many Puerto Ricans have faced serious setbacks with both law enforcement officials and private companies when presenting their driver’s license as part of different procedures they carry out. This initiative has the purpose of minimizing the existing confusion and emphasizing that Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States.”
Secretary of the Department of State, Omar Marrero, highlighted the collaborative efforts between the Puerto Rican government agencies and federal agencies to ensure that all Puerto Rican American citizens can comply with national regulations that guarantee their safety. “This initiative is one of many that allows us to ensure that we can visit any state, without any setbacks,” he said.
To implement this change, DTOP sought advice from the Department of Homeland Security, which responded affirmatively. Other states and territories across the United States have already integrated the Real ID system on their driver’s licenses, and Puerto Rico has now followed suit.
Secretary of the Department of Public Security (DSP), Alexis Torres Ríos, stated, “With the new format, citizens should not have problems when presenting their Real ID for identification purposes as an American citizen and to carry out any procedure that requires presenting their license. I appreciate the prompt response of the Department of Homeland Security so that the Real ID issued in Puerto Rico meets all federal requirements.”
Torres Ríos emphasized the importance of the Real ID system, which was implemented as a federal regulation following the September 11 attacks. It requires citizens to present identification with enhanced security features at checkpoints in airports and certain federal facilities like military bases.
The updated format will apply to new printed licenses as well as virtual licenses accessed through the CESCO digital application. Existing licenses will not require additional documents for renewal or duplicate processes.
This change is expected to streamline procedures for Puerto Rican citizens, minimizing setbacks and ensuring smoother interactions with law enforcement officials and private companies. The move underscores Puerto Rico’s status as a territory of the United States and its commitment to complying with national regulations for the safety and convenience of its citizens.