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Obtaining an Identification Card

You must be a resident of Virginia to obtain an ID card.

An ID card has no age restriction and is available for an adult or child who does not already hold a learner's permit or driver's license issued from a state within the United States.

If you already hold a valid Virginia driver's license, you may exchange your driver's license for an ID card.

What is REAL ID?

Beginning May 3, 2023, Virginians who wish to use their state-issued ID card to board a domestic flight must present a REAL ID compliant version of the card, marked by a small star in the upper-right corner. Other federally approved forms of ID will also be accepted, including a U.S. Passport or some military IDs. REAL ID also affects access to secure federal facilities and military bases, so visitors should verify identification requirements prior to their visit.

All applicants for a REAL ID compliant credential, including current Virginia credential holders, must apply in person. As the May 2023 enforcement deadline for REAL ID approaches, DMV offices are expected to become increasingly busy, so beat the rush and upgrade now.

For more information, visit REAL ID or REAL ID: You Have a REAL Choice.

Required Documents

If you are applying for an ID card and do not hold a valid Virginia driver's license, you must present the following documents proving your eligibility:

  • One proof of identity
  • One proof of legal presence
  • Two proofs of Virginia residency
  • One proof of your social security number, if you have been issued one
  • Proof of name change if your name appears differently on your proof documents

To determine which documents to bring to DMV when you apply, use the interactive Document Guide, or review the DMV publication Obtaining a Driver's License or ID Card (DMV 141) .

You will not be required to present proof of your of your social security number if you know the number and DMV is able to electronically verify it.

Make sure your name appears the same on all proof documents. If your middle name is not displayed, or only your middle initial appears on some of your documents, they may still be accepted. Nicknames will not be accepted. If your name appears differently on your proof documents, you will be asked to present additional documentation to connect the names such as a marriage certificate filed with a government agency or court, divorce decree or court order. Note: Marriage licenses and marriage certificates signed only by the wedding officiant (for example, a member of the clergy) will NOT be accepted.

All documents must be originals and will be subject to verification; however, print-outs of online residency documents that are listed on Form DMV 141 are acceptable as proof of residency. Temporary documents and photocopies of documents will not be accepted.

DMV will not accept a document as proof of identity, legal presence, residency or social security number when there is reason to believe it has been altered, fraudulently obtained or is fake, forged, counterfeit, or otherwise non-genuine or illegitimate. Documents accepted by DMV as proof of identity, legal presence, Virginia residency and social security number may change without prior notice. DMV may require additional documents.

You may hold either a driver's license, or ID card, but not both. If you hold a license of any kind, you must surrender it before applying for an ID card.

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Selective Service Registration

Generally, males under age 26 must register with the Selective Service. If you are required by federal law to register with the Selective Service, you must authorize DMV to forward your personal information to the Selective Service unless you have already registered.

If you are under age 18, your parent or guardian must sign your application authorizing the Selective Service to register you when you turn age 18.

DMV is prohibited by law from issuing any type of driver's license or ID card to an applicant who is required by federal law to register with the Selective Service but who refuses to authorize DMV to send his information to the Selective Service. If you have questions about Selective Service registration, visit the Selective Service website at or call 847-688-6888 (TTY: 847-688-2567).

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Completing the Application

If you are applying for an ID card or a hearing-impaired ID card, you must complete an Application for a Driver's License or Identification Card (form DL 1P).

For a child ID card (under age 15), complete the Application for an Identification Card for Minors Under 15 (form DL 5).

You may complete these forms before or after coming to DMV. Use your full legal name on the application. Abbreviations and nicknames will not be accepted. For your convenience, you also may apply to register to vote, change your voter registration address, or indicate your desire to become an organ donor when you apply for your ID card.

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An ID card costs $2 per year (minimum $10; maximum $16.) You may pay your fees with cash, money order, check, check card or major credit card.

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Length of Time an ID Card is Valid

Both adult ID and child ID cards expire on your birthday at the end of the period of years which the card has been issued. ID cards are valid for a maximum period of eight years.

Individuals required to register with the Virginia State Police Sex Offender and Crimes Against Children registry (Virginia Code Chapter 9 of Title 9.1) will be issued ID cards valid for five years.

If you are authorized to be in the U.S. temporarily, you will be issued an ID card valid only for the amount of time that you are legally permitted to stay in the U.S. You will not be eligible to receive a limited duration ID card if your authorized stay in the U.S. is less than 30 days from the date of your application. The expiration of the ID card will be the same as the expiration date shown on the document used to prove legal presence. If the document does not show an expiration date, the ID card will be valid for one year.

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Getting Your ID Card

You will receive your newly designed secure ID card in the mail, so make sure that DMV has your current, correct address on record. DMV has converted to a new secure process for issuing driver's licenses and ID cards and has discontinued issuing them over the counter. The U.S. Postal Service will not forward identification cards, so notify DMV right away if you have moved.

If you have renewed your ID card, you can continue to carry your old ID card with your receipt until you receive your new ID card.

DMV will assign you a customer number which will display on your ID card. If you wish to change your DMV-assigned number in the future, you may be required to present documentation from law enforcement or the courts indicating that you may be a victim of identity theft.

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DMV may refuse to issue a driver's license or identification card to any applicant who appears for photographing in a disguise or intentionally distorts their face to alter their appearance.

For examples of ID cards, refer to images of driver's licenses and identification cards.

Medical Indicators

An applicant or parent or legal guardian (if applicant is under 18), submitting a signed physician statement may voluntarily request indicators be placed on the applicant's identification card (ID) as a means of identifying their disability to law enforcement personnel. A "9" will display in the restriction field on the face of the ID and will be decoded on the back as follows:

  • Insulin-dependent diabetic
  • Speech impairment
  • Intellectual disability (IntD will display)
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD will display)
  • Blind or vision impaired