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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.

    However, 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 (including secure military bases). If you have a U.S. Passport or another form of approved identification, you can use that instead.

    Picture of Non compliant Real ID License
    The next time you renew your standard credential, it will display “Federal Limits Apply” in the top right corner in order to distinguish it from a REAL ID compliant credential.
  • 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.

    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 federal purposes until October 1, 2020. Until then, you can use your current Virginia driver’s license or identification card to board a plane.
  • 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.


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