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Transportation Officials Say Don’t Wait Until Next Summer To Get New REAL ID Driver’s License

people standing in line at Richmond airport
Transportation officials say with more people than ever passing through security this holiday season, they want to prevent confusion and missed flights. They're urging travelers to get their REAL ID within the next couple of months.   (Whittney Evans/VPM News)

TSA and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles are, once again, urging residents to get the new, federally-approved ID card before it’s too late. 

Virginians have less than a year to get their REAL ID-compliant driver’s license if they plan to board an airplane for a domestic flight or enter a secure federal facility starting October 1, 2020.  Travelers without it can still use passports and military ID’s.

But TSA and DMV officials say those without a passport or military ID should consider getting it much earlier-like December or January-to avoid crowds, long lines and potential snafus-like forgetting the required documents.

“TSA knows a thing or two about what people think about waiting in line,” said spokesperson Lisa Farbstein.”  “If you’re going to the DMV next August, bring a snack.”

REAL ID-compliant credentials have a star in the upper right corner.
REAL ID-compliant credentials have a star in the upper right corner. (Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles)

Applicants need a passport or birth certificate as proof of identity, as well as proof of residence like a utility bill as well as a social security card or another form with the full social security number on it like a pay stub. 

Richard Holcomb, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles said the state has processed almost 900,000 REAL IDs so far. 

“Bad news is 1.7 million folks still need to come into the Virginia DMV before next October to get their card,” he said.

Holcomb said December and January slower months at the DMV. So right now is a good time to go. The DMV also has remote services.  DMV 2 Go is a mobile DMV office and with DMV Connect, teams of DMV employees travel to different locations like assisted living facilities and college campuses to process licenses, provide copies of vital records and other services.