CHARLESTON, WV — West Virginia residents who want to board an airplane will soon need a gold star on their driver’s license, indicating that it is REAL ID-compliant or they will need another form of approved identification to board their flight or enter a secure federal facility. West Virginia’s REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards have a small gold star in the upper right corner to indicate that it meets federal regulations that establish minimum security standards.
October marked the one-year countdown until all travelers will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or other acceptable form of ID if they want to fly domestically starting October 2020.
“There are still many West Virginians who will need a REAL ID but haven’t yet gotten one,” said John C. Allen, TSA’s Federal Security Director for West Virginia. “The one-year countdown has begun and we urge travelers to get a REAL ID or another form of acceptable ID now. You don’t want to be standing at the airport next October with your non-refundable airline ticket in hand only to be told you do not have the proper ID to board your flight. That’s not something you can talk your way out of. It would be a very expensive mistake.”
“We anticipate an increase in the number of customers who will need to obtain a new driver’s license or ID card in the next year,” West Virginia DMV Commissioner Adam Holley said. “We are focused on providing the best service possible for our customers, and will continue to work together with TSA and DOT officials to ensure that West Virginia continues to be a REAL ID-compliant state, providing federally approved credentials for their convenience and safety.”
West Virginia began issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses and ID cards in January of 2012. “We’ve also been promoting REAL ID since late 2011 in hopes of reaching as many West Virginians as possible,” Holley said. “However, with the new federal guidelines less than a year away, now is as good of a time as ever to get a REAL ID to make sure you’re prepared and ahead of the curve for next year’s changes.”
Now is the perfect time for West Virginia residents to get a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card because beginning October 1, 2020, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant credential or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States.
West Virginia residents have the option to upgrade to a REAL ID-compliant license or stick with a standard driver’s license when they get a new license at a West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles office. There is a $10 REAL ID surcharge in addition to standard fees to get the new license. However, a standard credential—without the gold star—will not be valid to board a flight or to access secure federal facilities, including military bases and some federal offices.
To get the REAL ID-compliant license, individuals will need to appear at their local West Virginia DMV in person and bring certain documents to prove U.S. citizenship and West Virginia residency. Required documents include one proof of identity, one proof of legal presence, two proofs of West Virginia residency, a social security card and a current driver’s license if you are applying to exchange one issued by another U.S. state. A list of most commonly used documents is posted online.
Transportation Security Administration officers who staff the ticket document checking station at airports will not allow travelers into the checkpoint without a REAL ID-compliant license or another form of acceptable ID after October 1, 2020, because of a federal law (The REAL ID Act of 2005) that mandates that a REAL ID is needed for federal purposes. REAL ID is a coordinated effort by the federal government to improve the reliability and accuracy of driver’s licenses and identification cards. The improvements are intended to inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.
TSA has posted new signs at airports nationwide to remind people that REAL ID-compliant licenses or other acceptable forms of ID, such as a valid passport, federal government PIV card or U.S. military ID, will be mandatory for air travel beginning on October 1, 2020. Critically important, on October 1, 2020, individuals who are unable to verify their identity will not be permitted to enter the TSA checkpoint and will not be allowed to fly. TSA officers will be providing verbal advisements to passengers to remind them about REAL ID.
For more information and details about how to obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card in West Virginia, visit the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles web site.
TSA also has a one-minute video that provides information about flying with a REAL ID.