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Legal Presence in Virginia

Legal presence means that a person is a U.S. citizen, a legal permanent resident of the U.S. or is legally authorized to be in the U.S. in an eligible immigration status.

Proof of Legal presence is required when:

  • Applying for a standard driver's license or ID for the first time in Virginia
  • Applying for a REAL ID license or ID for the first time
  • Your driver's license or ID becomes suspended, revoked or canceled*
  • Your driver's license or ID is not renewed prior to expiration*

    *You will not be required to submit proof of legal presence again if you are:
    • A U.S. citizen, a legal permanent resident of the U.S. or a conditional resident of the U.S and have presented proof of legal presence since 2004 or,
    • An approved asylee or refugee in the U.S. or a citizen of the Freely Associated states (Micronesia, Palau or Marshall Islands) and have presented supporting documentation to DMV since July 1, 2020.

The publication Acceptable Documents by Status outlines the individuals eligible under state law to apply for a standard Virginia driver's license or ID card and the corresponding acceptable documents to show legal presence.

DMV does not accept the Employment Authorization Document (I-766) as proof of legal presence for REAL ID credentials. However, holders of a valid Employment Authorization Document (I-766) may be able to present other official documentation as proof of legal presence as outlined on the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) chart.

For a complete list of acceptable documents for proof of legal presence, identity, residency and Social Security number, refer to either the interactive Document Guide or "Obtaining a Driver's License or Photo ID Card" (DMV 141).

When legal presence is required as a result of suspension, revocation, cancellation or license expiration you may also use the Online Legal Presence transaction to certify your birth record and update your legal presence status with DMV. For more information, see online eligibility.

If you lose your license, permit or ID card, you will not need to prove legal presence as long as you request a duplicate while it is still valid, before the expiration date. The replacement card will display the same expiration date that was on the lost card.

Additional Information

Specific license and ID issuance requirements and information can be reviewed at:


Document Guide

Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

Acceptable Documents by Status