By Jenny Sites October 18, 2018

We’ve all heard someone talking about the “REAL ID”, but what is it and do you need one?  

A federal law change has been made that requires the new REAL ID to be used for boarding domestic flights or accessing certain federal facilities starting October 1, 2020. In Virginia, when you renew your current driver’s license, you can request the REAL ID compliant driver’s license, or if your ID doesn’t expire before October 2020, you can go ahead and request the REAL ID anytime. The REAL ID license still acts as your standard driver’s license, but will show a star inside of a circle on the top right hand corner of your license.

What will you need to get the REAL ID?  You will need to apply in person, pay a one-time fee of $10 (in addition to any standard fees) and bring a form of ID, Legal Presence, Social Security Number, 2 proofs of residency, and proof of any names changes. (See specific examples of each here). Once you have the REAL ID, you can get it renewed online in the future.

Do you have to get it? NO. If you choose not to get to the update, your new license will say “Federal Limits Apply” on the top right hand corner. Additionally, you can still use another approved form of identification, such as your passport, in place of the REAL ID.  The REAL ID is NOT required to drive, vote, receive federal benefits, access healthcare, etc. 

While this law does not go into effect until October 2020, it is recommended that you go ahead and get the REAL ID prior to this date if you think you will need it. As the deadline approaches there will likely be longer lines at the DMV and longer processing times to get your REAL ID in hand. 

Source: DMV