Washington D.C begins rollout of REAL IDs

Beginning in May 2014, people with expiring Washington D.C. driver’s licenses or identification cards will need to visit the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to have them replaced. The new driver’s licenses are REAL IDs that conform to federal guidelines passed in 2005 and require the revalidation of identifying documentation before they can be issued.

Current D.C. driver’s licenses and ID cards will remain valid until their expiration dates, but starting on January 19, 2015, certain federal facilities will require either a REAL ID or a U.S. passport to enter. Beginning on some as-yet unspecified date in 2016, a REAL ID or U.S. passport will be required to board commercial aircraft.

Although Washington D.C. unveiled a new design for its driver’s licenses and ID cards as recently as October 2013, those cards are not fully compliant with the REAL ID act guidelines, and are not REAL IDs.

To help reduce wait times, the D.C. DMV will send letters to residents suggesting when they should visit their local DMV office and present the required documents. Residents who have received the letter will not be charged the normal renewal fees for conversion to a REAL ID.

REAL ID compliant identification contains the following data: full legal name, signature, date of birth, gender, a unique identifying number, principal residence address, and a front-facing photograph of the ID holder. They must use machine-readable technology and certain security features to prevent tampering and counterfeiting. They can be recognized by a star that appears in the upper right hand corner.

Washington D.C. Driver's License Washington D.C. Driver's License

REAL IDs show a star

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