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People swarm to DMV to purchase REAL ID

Many people are confused about what's needed to obtain a REAL ID. What documents do you bring to the DMV? What's required? We break it down.

NORFOLK, Virginia — Travelers may have to take a trip to the DMV if they’re looking to fly -- even domestically -- after October 1, 2020.

If your driver's license or state-issued ID card isn't REAL ID-compliant, you'll instead need to have one of the following to board a domestic flight starting next October:

  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • U.S. military ID (active duty or retired military and their dependents, and DoD civilians)
  • Permanent resident card
  • Border crossing card
  • Airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan)
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • Canadian provincial driver's license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
  • Transportation Worker Identification Credential
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential

The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005, and it makes the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.” 

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.

RELATED: Gov. Northam announces expanded partnership to offer REAL IDs to returning citizens

Drivers can generally tell the difference between a REAL ID and a standard license by a star marked in the upper portion of the card. The stars range from gold or black to star cutouts in gold or black circles. California's REAL ID marking is a star cutout in a gold grizzly bear. 

Virginia's will be a star cutout in a black circle.

Homeland Security fact sheet showing examples of REAL ID markings on driver's licenses.

If there’s no star, then it’s likely a standard license and not REAL ID-compliant. Non-compliant licenses and ID cards will display “federal limits apply” on the face of the card.

In Hampton Roads, people are flocking to the DMV and mobile DMV offices for a REAL ID. 

“The normal DMV versus this, night and day. I don’t even know if that’s enough difference. You get in and out of here in minutes instead of hours,” explained Steve Mason, who was getting his new REAL ID.

If you plan to purchase a REAL ID, the DMV requires four forms of identification. They include:

  • One proof of identity
  • One proof of legal presence
  • Two proofs of Virginia residency
  • Two from the primary list, or one from the primary list and one from the secondary list

You need to provide DMV with physical documentation:

  • 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; and (e.g. Social Security card or W-2 form)
  • Residency (two proofs required). (e.g. utility bills, mortgage statements, Virginia driver’s license displaying current Virginia residential street address)
  • Proof of any name changes (e.g. marriage certificates or divorce decrees) Note: If the name on your identity document is different than your legal name, you must show proof of your name change.

“Make sure you have all the right documents and check them twice," said DMV spokeswoman Brandy Brubaker. "If you are not sure what to bring, bring a few extra. That is fine.”

You also will need REAL ID for more than just flying.

In Hampton Roads, the REAL ID is crucial. To drive on a base come October 2020 or any federal facility, you will need a REAL ID. If you do not have a REAL ID, you will need to bring your regular ID along with a passport. According to the DMV website, right now some military bases may no longer accept non-REAL ID compliant credentials.

A REAL ID does not apply to the following federal facilities:

  • 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); and
  • Participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigations.
  • It also is not required to vote or register to vote or to be licensed by a state to drive.

“Once you get your REAL ID, you have it [for good]. You only have to get it one time,” explained Brubaker.

The REAL ID costs more than a regular license, with a one-time $10 surcharge. You can purchase a REAL ID anytime at the DMV or a mobile DMV site. 

According to TSA, if you are traveling with minors, they don’t need a REAL ID.

You can find out more about REAL ID on the Virginia DMV website.

RELATED: VERIFY: Are there alternative options if you don't want to get a REAL ID license in the DMV?

RELATED: Does your driver's license have a star on it? If not, you may not be able to fly in 2020

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