Virginia DMV Developing a New ID for Travel and Federal Access

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DMV in Richmond DMV in Richmond
DMV in Richmond DMV in Richmond
Brandy Brubaker Brandy Brubaker

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is getting ahead of upcoming federal rules.

In a few years, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require all Americans use a federally-approved credential in order to board domestic flights in the United States.

Starting October 2018, Virginians will have the option to upgrade their driver's license or government identification card to a REAL ID.

The 9-11 Commission recommended the federal government beef up security regulations on IDs.

In response, Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005, and has given states time to plan and carry out this administrative work. The new security standards take effect in October 2020.

Virginia DMV Spokeswoman Brandy Brubaker says getting one of these IDs will be very similar to the current procedure.

"So you'll get a credential that looks just like what you have in your pocket now. The only difference will be that it'll have a little black star in the corner to let people know that it is REAL ID compliant," she said.

Some additional documents may be need for approval of the new IDs.

Travelers also have the option of using their passport to get on a domestic flight once the new rules are in place.

Release from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles:

RICHMOND –Virginia has notified the U. S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of its intent to become REAL ID compliant by October 2018.

Beginning October 1, 2020, DHS will require all Americans use a federally approved credential in order to board domestic flights in the United States, as part of the REAL ID Act of 2005. To assist Virginians, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is developing new REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards that can be used for identification purposes to fly and to gain access to federal facilities that require identification.

“Virginia will implement REAL ID with a bifurcated, or optional, approach, which will allow Virginians with existing licenses or ID cards to choose whether they want this new credential or not,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb. “If you are someone who prefers to travel by car or train, this ID may not be necessary for you. But, if you frequently fly domestically, you may want the REAL ID credential so you don’t have to carry your U.S. passport to board a plane.”

The optional licenses and ID cards will be available to interested customers beginning in October 2018. Since the federal government will not be enforcing travel ID card restrictions until 2020, Virginians without a U. S. passport or other federally accepted credential under REAL ID will not need the new credential until October 1, 2020.

Many Virginians will be able to upgrade their driver’s license or identification card when they renew their current credentials after October 1, 2018.

Virginia has met nearly all of the requirements of REAL ID. Over the next 18 months, DMV will be working on the few remaining administrative requirements, programming systems, updating procedures, and notifying the public about the new optional card to minimize inconveniences Virginians may experience as a result of the federal law.

The new credential will meet the specific requirements of the federal REAL ID Act, a 2005 law passed by Congress that dictates the issuance process for cards to be accepted for federal purposes. DHS has set certain deadlines for states to show progress toward meeting the federal requirements. Once a state demonstrates progress toward meeting the additional requirements, DHS evaluates whether to grant extensions to the enforcement deadlines.

“DHS has acknowledged Virginia’s commitment and recently indicated an intent to grant Virginia an extension for compliance until at least October,” Commissioner Holcomb said. “We are confident DHS will grant us further extensions to enable us to fully implement these new credentials without impacting Virginians who need identification to fly or do business.”

In October, as Virginia demonstrates further progress toward compliance, DHS will evaluate whether to issue another extension until Virginia begins issuing the new cards in October 2018. For those who do not wish to obtain this new Virginia credential, but still need an identification credential for flying and other federal purposes, in addition to a passport, DHS will also accept the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). TWIC service is currently available at eight DMV offices across the commonwealth.