Virginia notified the U. S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that it intends to be REAL ID compliant by October 2018, two years ahead of the October 1, 2020 DHS deadline requiring all Americans use a federally approved credential to board domestic flights in the United States.
The requirement is part of the REAL ID Act of 2005.
To help, 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 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 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,” 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.