WASHINGTON — Virginia will soon start its rollout of the federal REAL ID program.
The program was passed by Congress in 2005 and establishes minimum security standards for issuing sources of identification.
In October Virginia will start issuing REAL IDs, and residents will have two years to procure one of these federally compliant cards by Sept. 30, 2020.
Once October 2020 rolls around, a REAL ID card or another permitted form of identification will be required to board domestic flights and to enter secure federal spaces, such as military bases and federal buildings.
Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles said the Transportation Security Administration will accept several other document types to board domestic flights, in the absence of REAL ID. These include a U.S. passport or passport card, trusted Department of Homeland Security traveler cards, permanent resident cards, and foreign government-issued passports.
As for optional documents to gain entrance into secure federal spaces, the DMV recommends contacting those facilities directly to find out their requirements.
It is not mandatory to obtain a REAL ID, though. Folks who don’t need regular access to secure federal spaces or who don’t fly won’t need one. Their current licenses or Virginia identification cards will suffice.
Applicants must apply in person, pay the usual licensing and ID fees, plus a one-time $10 surcharge.
According to the Virginia DMV’s website, additional documents are needed; but other than that, it’s a comparable process to applying for a driver’s license or a state ID.
REAL ID cards will appear mostly the same as standard IDs and licenses with one difference. They will be marked with a star in the upper-right corner to show compliance. This distinction will show whether a Virginia license or ID can also be used to board domestic flights or access secure federal facilities. Noncompliant cards will say “Federal Limits Apply,” but both types of identification are secure.
To meet federal REAL ID Act requirements, the cards must include designs that prevent counterfeiting or other fraudulent uses.
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