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What You Need to Know About REAL ID - Including Recent Extension - Norton Pelt, PLC

What You Need to Know About REAL ID – Including Recent Extension

Before long, your old driver’s license will not be enough for some activities that involve the federal government. In case you haven’t seen the inside of a DMV lately, we are talking about the REAL ID. You’re probably at least somewhat familiar with REAL ID, but might not know what it will be used for, when you can get one, or whether or not you actually need a REAL ID. We will attempt to answer some common questions about this new identification system here in this blog. 

What is the Real ID Used For?

REAL ID is a law placing requirements on identification that is acceptable for federal purposes. The original law was passed in 2005 and was meant to enhance security measures after the September 11 attacks. The requirement that most Viriginians need to be aware of is the REAL ID requirement to board domestic flights, which starts in October. It will also be used to grant access to secure federal facilities (such as military bases) and certain federal offices. 

To clear up a common misconception, the REAL ID is not a standalone piece of identification. Instead, the DMV will mark Virginians’ driver’s licenses as REAL ID certified. You will be able to tell by a star in the upper right corner of your license; licenses without REAL ID will say something along the lines of “Federal Limits Apply.” You must apply for the REAL ID in-person. 

What Should You Bring to the DMV?

When you go to the DMV to receive your REAL ID, you need some form of identification, like a passport or green card (for non-citizens). You will also need your social security card or other document that has your SSN on it (such as a W- 2 or 1099 Form). Finally, you need something that proves your residence, like mortgage documents or a utility bill. If you have ever changed your name, you will also need an official document that proves this. 

What is the Deadline For Receiving a REAL ID?

There is no deadline for getting your REAL ID, but you will need to get one to access some federal locations and board domestic flights before Oct. 1, 2021. Up until late March 2020, the new requirements were set to take effect on Oct. 1, 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic pushed back the date one year. 


You are not mandated by law to get your driver’s license upgraded to REAL ID, but flying domestically and accessing certain federal buildings will become a little more complicated if you choose to not participate in the new licensing system. For what it’s worth, REAL ID has its fair share of critics, chief among them privacy advocates who worry the federal government might use information to create a national database. 

Adding another set of nationwide identification standards can spill out into many other areas of your everyday life; wrong or contradictory information on one identification card can present major headaches for ordinary citizens. 

Norton Pelt is still here to serve the citizens of central Virginia, though we have switched to phone and tele-consultations with our clients. Call the firm at 540-440-7007 to set something up today.

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Norton Pelt, PLC

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