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October 1, 2018
TODAY: DMV Begins Issuing REAL ID Driver's Licenses and IDs
Interested Virginians have until October 2020 to Upgrade to Optional Card before Federal Air Travel ID Requirements Take Effect

RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) begins issuing optional REAL ID compliant driver's licenses and identification cards today.

A REAL ID compliant credential can be used for all of the same purposes as your current driver's license – including driving, voting and accessing federal benefits – but, beginning October 1, 2020, also can be used as the federal identification which will then be necessary for boarding domestic flights and entering secure federal facilities and military bases.

This gives Virginians interested in upgrading to a REAL ID two years to obtain one at a time of their choosing before the new federal requirements take effect. Several other forms of ID, including a U.S. Passport, Passport Card, and some military IDs, will also be accepted for federal identification.

"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," said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb. "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."

A REAL ID compliant credential, left, will display a small star in the upper right corner, while a non-compliant
or standard credential, right, will display "Federal Limits Apply."

The documents needed to apply for a REAL ID are readily accessible to Virginians and are similar to those needed when many applied for their original Virginia driver's license or ID. Many Virginians will bring their:

  • U.S. birth certificate or unexpired U.S. Passport
  • Social Security Card or W-2 form
  • Utility bill (not more than two months old) and a Virginia driver's license, commercial driver's license, learner's permit, or DMV-issued ID card displaying the applicant's name and current Virginia residential street address

If the name listed on your proof of identity document does not match your current full legal name, you must present documents, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree, which connect the names. Multiple documents may be necessary if your name has changed more than once.

There are a variety of documents you can use. A complete list is available in "Obtaining a Virginia Driver's License or Identification Card" (DMV 141). You can also use DMV's interactive document guide.

Since REAL ID is optional, many Virginians may decide they don't want or need one. Those Virginians may continue to use their driver's license or ID as they always have. The next time they renew their credential, they will receive a license or ID that displays "Federal Limits Apply." Should they need to board a domestic flight or enter a secure federal facility after October 2020, they may use another federally approved form of ID.

For more information about REAL ID, visit


Date: October 1, 2018
Contact: Brandy Brubaker
(804) 367-6834