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Countdown begins to obtain REAL ID before enforcement starts at airports

dmv virginiaThere is one year left to get your REAL ID before new federal identification requirements take effect for domestic travel at airports nationwide.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, the federal government will require a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, or another federally approved form of ID such as a passport, in order to board a domestic flight.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) began issuing REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards one year ago, on Oct. 1, 2018, to give Virginians time to obtain this optional credential if they desired in advance of the federal enforcement deadline.

Fall months of October, November and December are typically less busy at DMV’s 75 customer service centers. Customers can also take advantage of DMV’s mobile services. Four DMV2Go mobile offices (customer service centers “on wheels”) and eight DMV Connect teams (DMV services “in a suitcase”) are assisting across the Commonwealth. These mobile teams provide services, including REAL ID, at a broad range of locations and events, including businesses, military bases, libraries, universities, community centers, courthouses, local government offices, and conferences.

A schedule of visits is available at

DMV also offers a service that allows eligible customers to start a REAL ID transaction from a home computer or mobile device. This “Start Anywhere” transaction is available to customers during their driver’s license renewal period, which is up to 12 months prior to expiration, or when replacing their driver’s license, by securely creating or logging in to their account at and selecting driver’s license renewal or replacement in Online Services.

REAL ID-compliant credentials are available for a one-time $10 surcharge, in addition to standard driver’s license or ID card fees, to help DMV cover the costs of administering the program.

The documents needed to apply for a REAL ID are readily accessible to Virginians and are similar to those needed when individuals applied for their original Virginia driver’s license or ID. All applicants for a REAL ID-compliant credential, including current Virginia credential holders, must apply in person 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 displaying full nine digits);
  • Residency – two proofs required and must display name and current Virginia residential street address (e.g. utility bills, mortgage statements, Virginia driver’s license); and
  • 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. Multiple documents may be necessary if your name has changed more than once. DMV can issue certified copies of Virginia birth and marriage certificates for a fee.

There are a variety of acceptable documents; a complete list is available at You may also use DMV’s interactive document guide.

REAL ID also affects access to secure federal facilities and military bases. Because these facilities have the ability to set their own entry requirements, DMV advises Virginians to verify the identification needed for access prior to their visit.

Effective immediately, some military bases may no longer accept non-REALID-compliant credentials displaying “Federal Limits Apply.”

Since REAL ID is optional, some Virginians may decide they don’t want or need one. Those Virginians may continue to use their driver’s license or ID as they always have. The next time they renew their credential, they will receive a license or ID that displays “Federal Limits Apply.” Should they need to board a domestic flight or enter a secure federal facility after October 2020, they may use another federally approved form of ID, such as a U.S. Passport or some military IDs.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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