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REAL ID: You Have a REAL Choice

Virginians now have the option to upgrade to a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or identification card, or stick with DMV’s standard credential.

Suzy Q & A Explains REAL ID

 Meet Suzy Q & A

Difference Between the Two Cards

  • Standard credential:
    Your standard driver’s license, like the one you may have in your wallet right now, can be used to drive. In addition, a driver’s license or identification card can be used as ID to vote, cash a check, apply for or receive government benefits, or conduct everyday local business. The next time you renew your standard credential and choose not to upgrade to a REAL ID, it will display “Federal Limits Apply” in the top right corner in order to distinguish it from a REAL ID compliant credential. Because of a federal law change, beginning October 1, 2020, you will not be able to use this style of Virginia credential to board a domestic flight or to access secure federal facilities. If you have a U.S. Passport or another form of approved identification, you can use that instead. Effective immediately, some military bases may no longer accept non-REAL ID compliant credentials which display “Federal Limits Apply.” Please verify identification requirements prior to your visit.

    Picture of Non compliant Real ID License

  • REAL ID compliant credential:
    The new REAL ID compliant driver’s license and identification card can also be used for all of the same purposes as a standard credential.

    However, beginning October 1, 2020, the federal government will require you to present this upgraded REAL ID compliant credential or another form of approved identification in order to board a domestic flight or to access secure federal facilities. Effective immediately, some military bases may no longer accept non-REAL ID compliant credentials which display “Federal Limits Apply.” Please verify identification requirements prior to your visit.

    REAL ID compliant credentials display a small star in the upper right corner to indicate they meet federal requirements. Choose which documents you’ll need to bring to DMV to get a REAL ID with DMV’s interactive Document Guide.

    Picture of Real ID License

Important Things to Remember:

  • You will not need this credential for domestic air travel until October 1, 2020. Until then, you can use your current Virginia driver’s license or identification card to board a plane. However, effective immediately, some military bases may no longer accept non-REAL ID compliant credentials which display “Federal Limits Apply.” Please verify identification requirements prior to your visit.
  • Virginia will offer this credential in order to comply with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005.
  • The credential is completely optional. If you won’t need it, you don’t need to get it.

ALERT: Need Identification to Enter a Military Base?

Effective immediately, some military bases may no longer accept non-REAL ID compliant credentials which display “Federal Limits Apply.” Please verify identification requirements prior to your visit; you may need to present additional identification.

Non-REAL ID license with Federal Limits Apply highlighted

The REAL ID Act

The new driver’s license and ID card meet the specific requirements of the federal REAL ID Act, a 2005 law passed by Congress that dictates the issuance process for cards to be accepted as proof of identification for federal purposes.

Additional Information