Holders of licenses and ID cards that meet federal requirements will be able to use their Virginia DMV-issued credentials as identification to access federal buildings, including military installations, and board domestic flights.
No, obtaining a REAL ID compliant license or ID card when you renew is voluntary. Current Virginia driver’s license and identification card holders may choose at renewal whether they would like a REAL ID compliant credential or a standard Virginia credential. If a customer chooses not to apply for a REAL ID compliant credential, the customer’s renewal process remains the same as in previous years. If you are a renewal customer and want to upgrade to REAL ID, you can start your REAL ID application online. This easy and efficient process will also help you select which documents to bring to DMV. Start your application now.
Yes, until May 7, 2025. Your current Virginia credential may be used to board a domestic flight through May 6, 2025. On May 7, 2025, the federal government will require all domestic air travelers to present a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or ID card or another federally approved form of identification.
The Transportation Security Administration indicates that it will accept the following identification documents:
- U.S. passport
- U.S. passport card
- DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
- U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
- Permanent resident card
- Border crossing card
- Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
- HSPD-12 PIV card
- Foreign government-issued passport
- Canadian provincial driver's license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
- Transportation Worker Identification Credential
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
- U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration does not require children under age 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. The companion will need acceptable identification. Please note that airlines may have individual policies on minor children and require identification.
No. REAL ID does not apply to the following:
- Entering federal facilities such as museums that do not require a person to present identification;
- Applying for or receiving federal benefits;
- Accessing health or life preserving services (including hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement, or constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant’s access to court proceedings); and
- Participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigations.
It also is not required to vote or register to vote or to be licensed by a state to drive.
DHS has not released an approved documents list for entrance into federal facilities. Many federal facilities may have control over acceptable identification documents for entrance. If you are looking to enter a specific facility, DMV suggests contacting that facility directly. 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.
Identification requirements for each military base may vary. Please note that, effective immediately, some military bases may no longer accept non-REAL ID compliant credentials which display “Federal Limits Apply.” If you hold a driver’s license or ID that says “Federal Limits Apply” and need to access a military base, you may have to present another form of identification such as a U.S. Passport or military ID. Please verify identification requirements prior to your visit.
The process is similar to Virginia’s current driver’s license/ID card application process. All applicants for a REAL ID compliant credential, including current Virginia credential holders, must apply in-person, pay a one-time $10 REAL ID surcharge in addition to standard fees and provide DMV with physical documentation of:
- Identity (e.g. Unexpired U.S. passport or U.S. birth certificate)
- Legal Presence (e.g. Unexpired U.S. passport or U.S. birth certificate)
- Social Security Number (e.g. Social Security card or W-2 form)
- Residency (two proofs required). (e.g. utility bills, mortgage statements, Virginia driver’s license displaying current Virginia residential street address)
- Proof of any name changes (e.g. marriage certificates or divorce decrees) Note: If the name on your identity document is different than your legal name, you must show proof of your name change.
You can find a list of proof documents that Virginia currently accepts on "Obtaining a Virginia Driver's License or Identification Card (DMV 141 or via DMV’s Online Document Guide. If you need to obtain a replacement Social Security card, more information is available at Obtaining a Replacement Social Security Card.
Renewing or replacing your current Virginia driver’s license? If you are an existing customer and want to upgrade to REAL ID, you can start your REAL ID application online. This easy and efficient process will also help you select which documents to bring to DMV. You may also download a copy of the application.
If you are applying for a first-time driver’s license or ID, you can also start your application online.
Many people change their names due to marriage, adoption, divorce or other reasons. In order to obtain a REAL ID compliant credential, you must provide proof documents that show a direct link between your name changes. Those documents include a marriage certificate filed with a government agency or court, divorce decree, or a court order granting the name change. Marriage licenses, civil union documents, and marriage certificates signed only by the wedding officiant (for example, a member of the clergy) will NOT be accepted.
Multiple documents may be necessary if your name has changed more than once. For example, if your birth certificate displays your maiden name but your driver’s license displays your married name, you’ll need to bring a certified copy of your marriage certificate filed with a government agency or court to link the documents.
If you’ve lost your birth or marriage certificate from Virginia, you can obtain a certified replacement copy at DMV. However, if you have a U.S. passport or passport card that matches your current legal name and all of your other proof documents, you can use that document as proof of identity and legal presence, rather than a birth certificate.
REAL ID compliant licenses and ID cards look the same as cards issued prior to October 1, 2018, except they have a circle with a star in the top right corner of the credential, while non-compliant licenses and ID cards display “Federal Limits Apply” on the face of the card.
Don’t wait! DMV will become increasingly busy the closer it gets to the federal enforcement deadline of May 2025. Check the expiration date on your credential. You can renew up to one year in advance of expiration. If it is time to renew, consider coming to DMV as soon as possible if you want to get a REAL ID. If you don’t need to renew for several years, you can come in any time and request a replacement credential. Save yourself time and get REAL ID ready now!
It is also important to note that, while The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will not start enforcing REAL ID for domestic air travel until May 2025, effective immediately, some military bases may no longer accept non-REAL ID compliant credentials which display “Federal Limits Apply.”
Yes! Please visit DMV in person with the required REAL ID documentation and request a replacement credential. You’ll pay the standard replacement card fee ($20 for a driver’s license; $10 for an ID card), plus a $10 one-time surcharge for REAL ID. Save yourself time and get REAL ID ready now!
No. Federal law requires that your first application for a REAL ID compliant credential be made in person. After you’ve received your first REAL ID compliant credential, you may renew online according to the standard schedule.
If you don’t want a REAL ID compliant credential, you may renew online if you are eligible.
If you were born or married in Virginia, you can request a certified copy of these documents at any of DMV’s 75 customer service centers. Please see Vital Records at DMV for more information. If you were born, married or divorced in another state, you can request a certified copy of these documents from the state in which they were issued.
DMV also accepts valid U.S. passports or passport cards and some other documents as proof of identity and legal presence. You can find a list of proof documents that Virginia currently accepts on "Obtaining a Virginia Driver's License or Identification Card (DMV 141).
Virginia DMV does not have a process by which customers can pre-scan and upload REAL ID documents from home. In order to get a REAL ID, you must bring your documents to Virginia DMV for review. Any website claiming to provide this service is not affiliated with Virginia DMV. As such, customers should not submit any images of personal documents to such websites as they will not be transmitted to Virginia DMV and could be used for fraudulent purposes. Customers may fill out a REAL ID application in advance; however, this process will not ask you to scan and upload documents.
The federal REAL ID Act requires states to maintain copies of all customer proof documents presented as part of a REAL ID application. The security of customer documentation and records is of the utmost importance to DMV and the agency follows the highest security standards. As such, REAL ID documents are scanned and securely stored in an encrypted format and DMV access to those records is heavily restricted.
For your privacy, customers may redact or black out information that does not pertain to the REAL ID transaction, such as financial information on a bank statement or W-2 form.
Both are secure. Virginia completely overhauled its driver’s licenses and IDs in 2009 to include the security features present in your current credential. The only physical difference between compliant and non-compliant cards is the marking in the top right corner of the credential. To meet the requirements of the REAL ID Act, compliant cards display a circle with a small star while non-compliant cards display “Federal Limits Apply.”
Starting May 7, 2025, these markers will be used to indicate whether you can use your ID as identification necessary to board a domestic flight or enter some secure federal facilities. If you don’t have a compliant card, you can use another federally approved form of ID; please see above for a complete list. Please note that, 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.