Real IDs will be required for domestic air travel and to gain entry to federal buildings and military installations on October 1, 2020. Do you have one yet?

Real IDs are an enhanced form of identification as required by the Department of Homeland Security to perform certain functions. Starting October 1, 2020, you will be required to show a Real ID to board a domestic flight, enter a secured federal government building, or to enter a military installation. You can still use a valid U.S. passport or military identification card in each applicable case as well.

In order to get a Real ID, you'll have to start with a visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or one of their outreach events. You provide certain types of documentation, and your driver's license is converted to a Real ID which is then mailed to your home.

Here's the interesting part: unlike other states that are forcing drivers to convert their drivers' licenses, Virginia is taking a more relaxed approach to the looming deadline. For now, if you don't think you'll need one, you are not required to get a Real ID.

Virginia driver's license, DMV

If you do decide to get a Real ID, you will need to bring the following documents with you to a local DMV branch office or designated Real ID event:

  • Proof of identification: a valid driver's license or current U.S. passport
  • Proof of citizenship: a certified copy of your birth certificate with a raised seal or a current U.S. passport 
  • Social Security card or a W-2 form with your Social Security number printed on it
  • Proof of residency: two documents (lease agreement or utility bill, for example) showing your current address

As of publication time, it is unknown exactly how many Virginia residents may be seeking REAL IDs before the October 2020 deadline. 

"At DMV, we serve more and more REAL ID customers every day, but we estimate that there are still far more than one million Virginians who may want to get a REAL ID before these federal changes take effect at the airports. Virginians who want to get REAL ID ready can help themselves and DMV in two important ways—by visiting DMV as soon as possible to upgrade their credential before the rush in 2020 and by coming to DMV prepared with the proper documents to make a successful application on their first visit." 

— Richard Holcomb, Virginia DMV Commissioner 

Virginia DMV, REAL ID

Considering the deadline is less than a year away, you should think about whether you'll be converting to a Real ID sooner rather than later. Other states are taking a stricter stance on Real ID compliance; in Maryland, thousands of people risk getting their drivers' licenses recalled for not converting them by state-mandated deadlines.

For more information on how to get a new driver's license, visit the Virginia DMV website for Real ID compliance. You can also visit the Transportation Security Administration's website to learn more about Real IDs and airline travel.

**The photos and infographics in this article are courtesy of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

Will you be getting a Real ID or are you going to keep the standard driver's license? Have you already gone through the conversion process? Let us know how it went in the comments.