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Retailer Information


Backs of the Virginia credentials display two barcodes. A linear barcode is an inventory control number used in the card production environment. A 2-D barcode includes the cardholder's information that is also printed on the face of the card.

Effective July 1, 2014, Virginia merchants may only scan the barcode on an individual's DMV-issued ID card or driver's license in certain circumstances. These circumstances include:

  • Verifying the authenticity of the ID card or driver's license
  • Verifying the identity of an individual if the individual pays for goods or services with a method other than cash, returns an item, or requests a refund or exchange
  • Verifying an individual's age when providing age-restricted goods or services

Except in limited circumstances, merchants are prohibited from selling or disseminating to a third party any information obtained from a scan of the barcode of an individual's identification card or driver's license for any marketing, advertising, or promotional purpose. Persons aggrieved by a merchant's violation of these requirements may bring an action to recover damages of $100 per violation, and may be awarded reasonable attorney's fees, and court costs. Refer to the Code of Virginia §§ 59.1-442, 59.1-443.3, and 59.1-444 for more information on Virginia law regarding retailers' use of barcodes on DMV-issued credentials.

To protect the security and integrity of Virginia's secure cards, DMV has discontinued providing sample cards. To ensure you have the information you need to use the 2-D barcode, use the barcode reader calibration sheet with specifications and a sample barcode to test in your readers.

Two Card Formats

In 2009, Virginia began issuing newly-designed secure credentials from a central processing facility. All 80 full-service DMV locations statewide use this issuance process. Since Virginia credentials are valid for five to eight years, you may continue to see two Virginia card formats until at least 2017.

Out-of-State Credentials

Driver's license applicants are issued temporary driving permits, valid for 30 days, which allows individuals to drive until they receive new licenses. Identification card applicants receive receipts. Neither the receipt nor the temporary driving permit is valid for identification.

DMV returns the old licenses or ID cards to customers for use as identification until they receive their new licenses or ID cards in the mail. If an individual is new to Virginia and has an out-of-state licenses or ID card, DMV will invalidate the out-of-state card and return them to the customer. The customer can use this card as identification until they receive their new Virginia credentials via mail. DMV invalidates each out-of-state card by punching a hole through it. Your organization can continue to use invalidated out-of-state credentials as proof of identification.