Va. drivers urged not to wait to get Real-ID licenses

More than 850,000 Virginians in 2019 took the steps necessary to get a “REAL ID”-compliant driver’s license or identity card, but perhaps twice that many are still in need of one, state officials say.

“We estimate approximately 1.5 million more Virginians will want to get a REAL ID between now and October,” said Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Richard Holcomb.

That’s the deadline set by the federal government for those who wish to travel by air to have the requisite identification – a REAL ID or some other specified form (such as a passport). Such identification also will be required to enter certain secure federal facilities.

“The real work is yet to come,” acknowledged Holcomb, who said his agency was “hiring and training new staff, continuing to expand and relocate offices, and thinking outside the box” to provide services to customers.

His suggestion to those who have yet to get REAL IDs? “Come sooner rather than later,” Holcomb said. “And come prepared with the documents you need for a successful first visit, so you won’t need to make a return trip.”

Obtaining a REAL ID license or identification card is not mandatory; those who do not need or want them can continue to apply for regular versions, which will include the phrase “Federal Limits Apply.”

For information on the process, see the Website at

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