WASHINGTON — Area residents who want to board an airplane for a domestic flight or enter a secure federal facility will soon need a star on their driver’s license, indicating that it is REAL ID-compliant, or they will need another form of federally approved identification. REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards from the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland have a small star in the upper right corner to indicate the credentials are acceptable for these federal purposes.
Last month 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.
Individuals who live in the National Capital Region, whether they reside in the District, Virginia or Maryland, have the choice to fly out of three major airports in the region—Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, and many still need a REAL ID-compliant license, but haven’t yet gotten one.
“To assist with the REAL ID compliance process, DC DMV recently began offering District residents, whose credentials expire on or after October 1, 2020, the opportunity to renew early,” said DC DMV Director Gabriel Robinson. “DC DMV is taking a phased approach and notifying residents to schedule an appointment for early renewal.”
“We’ve added staff, expanded our mobile operations and renovated our offices to better serve Virginians,” said Richard D. Holcomb, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. “Because REAL ID is optional in the Commonwealth, you get to decide if it is right for you. But, if you want to get a REAL ID, don’t wait until the last minute. November and December are great months to visit Virginia DMV. Prepare yourself by visiting dmvNOW.com/REALID prior to your visit and you’ll have a successful trip to DMV.”
“MDOT MVA is committed to ensuring that every Marylander understands federal REAL ID and what they need to become compliant, said Christine Nizer, Administrator of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration “With more than 20,000 weekly appointments exclusively for REAL ID and tools like the REAL ID Lookup, and Document Guide, we’ve helped 55% of Marylanders get REAL ID ready. We look forward to continuing to make the process fast and efficient for those who still need to become compliant. Premier customer service is our priority, and we are very thankful that 98% of our customers say we are meeting that mark.”
Now is the perfect time for area 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.
District of Columbia and Maryland residents are required to get a REAL ID-compliant license when they apply for one at their local motor vehicles office. However, residents of Virginia 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 Virginia motor vehicles office. But it is important to keep in mind that a standard credential—without the star—will not be valid to board a flight or to access secure federal facilities, including military bases and some federal offices, as of October 2020.
To get the REAL ID-compliant license, individuals will need to appear at their local department of motor vehicles in person and bring certain documents to prove legal presence in the U.S. and state residency. Required documents include one proof of identity, one proof of legal presence, two proofs of residency in their jurisdiction, a social security card and a current driver’s license if they are applying to exchange one issued by another U.S. state. Proof of name change may also be required, if applicable. Visit your state’s motor vehicle agency for a complete list of acceptable documents.
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 starting October 2020, because of a federal law (The REAL ID Act of 2005). The Act established requirements for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies from accepting, for official purposes, licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet the requirements.
TSA has signs posted 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 starting October 2020. Critically important, 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 also are providing verbal advisements to passengers to remind them about REAL ID prior to next year’s deadline.
For more information and details about how to obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, visit your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles web site.
TSA also has a one-minute video that provides information about flying with a REAL ID.