Virginia DMV starts offering REAL ID-compliant licenses

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles began issuing REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards Monday.

The REAL ID credential is not a required upgrade, but it is one type of approved identification that can be used for boarding domestic flights, entering federal facilities or entering military bases. A REAL ID is not necessary for things such as voting, driving or receiving federal benefits, the DMV’s website stated. Federal facilities such as museums that do not require identification cards will not require REAL ID credentials.

Virginia’s REAL ID compliant driver’s license or ID will look just like current credentials except for a small star in the upper right corner, which signifies it meets federal requirements.

The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005. The act establishes minimum security standards for all identification cards issued by the individual states, the Department of Homeland Security’s website states. Federal agencies will not be able to accept licenses or identification cards from states that do not meet the standards.

Federal requirements for the upgrade take effect in October 2020, the Virginia DMV said. Those who do not choose to upgrade to a REAL ID license will still be able to use a passport, passport card or some military IDs.

People who want to change their driver’s license or identification card to be REAL ID compliant will need to upgrade their identification in-person at the DMV. Applying for the credential requires proof of identity, proof of legal presence and two forms of proof of Virginia residency.

A full list of acceptable identification and more information about REAL ID is available at

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