On Monday, October 1, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles began issuing REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards.

If you have a Virginia driver’s license and you’re planning on boarding a domestic flight or entering a secure federal facility or military base within the next two years, you may need to update your driver’s license. 

According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Virginia residents will be required to obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license by October 2020. 

“DMV is now offering optional REAL ID compliant credentials so that Virginians who rely on their state-issued driver’s license or identification card to board domestic flights or enter secure federal facilities or military bases won’t be inconvenienced by the change in federal ID requirements beginning in October 2020,” DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb said in a statement. “Because you don’t need a REAL ID for two more years, we hope customers will visit DMV when it is time to renew their current credential or at another time that’s convenient to them in the next two years.”

Virginia REAL ID
Photo credit: Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles 

How do I apply for a REAL ID? 

Applying for a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license is similar to Virginia’s current driver’s license/ID card application process; you’ll just need a few additional documents. 

According to dmv.virginia.gov, applicants interested in obtaining a REAL ID-compliant credential must apply in-person and pay a one-time fee of $10 (in addition to standard fees). 

Applicants must come prepared with the following documentation: 

  • Identity; (an unexpired U.S. passport or U.S. birth certificate will work)
  • Legal Presence; (an unexpired U.S. passport or U.S. birth certificate will work)
  • Social Security Number; and (e.g. Social Security card or W-2 form)
  • Residency (two proofs required). (e.g. utility bills, mortgage statements, Virginia driver’s license displaying current Virginia residential street address)
  • Proof of any name changes (e.g. marriage certificates or divorce decrees)

For a list of proof documents that Virginia currently accepts, please visit the DMV’s website

Can I renew online and still receive a REAL ID-compliant credential?

No. The federal law requires that an applicant’s first application for a REAL ID-compliant credential be made in person. Once you’ve received your first REAL ID-compliant credential, you may qualify for online renewal. 

When should I apply for a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will not start enforcing REAL ID for domestic air travel until October 2020. 

Does my child need a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card in order to board a domestic flight?

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does not require children under age 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. (Please note: some airlines may have individual policies regarding minors.)

While applying for a REAL ID-compliant driver's license is optional, it may be a good idea to go ahead and apply. Will you be heading to the DMV this week? Let us know in the comment section below! 

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