ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is making sure people are not caught off guard by an upcoming change to identification requirements.

DMV officials set up at Charlottesville Albemarle Airport Monday, May 6, to talk to people about Real IDs.

Starting in October 2020, people in Virginia will not be allowed to board planes using their current driver’s license due to new federal ID requirements. You'll have to get a Real ID or use a passport to fly.

“If you have a passport, you don't have to get a Real ID, but a lot of people either don't want to travel using their passport when they're just flying to maybe Florida or Texas. So that's where the Real ID is a great alternative for folks who are used to traveling using their Virginia driver’s license,” said Virginia DMV Spokesperson Brandy Brubaker.

You can get a Real ID at a full-service DMV location. You'll need to bring some documents and some money. Click here for more information.

Virginia issues optional REAL ID compliant credentials.

The new driver’s license and ID card 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 as proof of identification for federal purposes. Getting
a REAL ID compliant credential is optional; you can keep your current Virginia driver’s license or identification card, if you’d like, and keep renewing it as you always have.

Federal identification requirements for air travelers are changing in 2020. Virginia’s REAL ID will get you on board!

Beginning October 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require everyone using a state-issued driver’s license or ID card for identification to board a domestic flight or enter a secure federal facility to have a REAL ID compliant credential. Until then, Virginians can continue to use their current Virginia-issued credentials to board domestic air flights and enter federal facilities.

A U.S. passport, or several other forms of ID, will also serve as federal identification.

So, if you have a passport, you don’t need to get Virginia’s REAL ID (unless you want to).

How do I apply for a REAL ID compliant license or ID card?

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 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 (must include full number; e.g. Social Security card or W-2 form)
  • Residency (two proofs are required and each must include current residential street address; e.g. current driver’s
    license, voter registration card, utility bills, mortgage statements or rental lease agreement)
  • Proof of any name changes (e.g. marriage certificates or divorce decrees)

Visit for the full list of proof documents Virginia will accept.

REAL ID compliant credentials are marked with a small star in the upper right corner.

If you choose to keep your current style of credential, you will receive a driver’s license or ID marked “Federal Limits Apply” the next time you renew or request a replacement, in order to comply with federal requirements.

Will a REAL ID compliant license or ID card be necessary to get into every federal facility?

No. REAL ID does not apply to the following:

  • Voting or registering to vote;
  • Being licensed by a state to drive;
  • 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); or participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigations.