“It’s Time to Get Your REAL ID and Limited Purpose Credential” What the Hell is This?


Been getting tons of emails about the new REAL ID:

“Dear PoPville,

I just saw an email about this new ‘REAL ID’ thing the DC DMV is rolling out? Maybe it’s me but it seems a tad confusing. Are we being required to get new IDs, or is there just a new protocol, requiring additional sources of documentation when renewing or getting a new license? If you’re not up for a new license any time soon (i.e. just got mine renewed at the end of 2013- in the new DC license format), do we have to do anything, or is this just a heads up that more documents will be required from here on out, whenever you have to go get a new license?
Thanks for any clarity!”

Effective May 1, 2014, DC DMV will begin issuing REAL ID driver licenses and identification cards. These credentials will meet the REAL ID security standards established by the Federal Government.The document requirements for proof of DC residencyproof of Social Security Number, and proof of identity have changed for everyone, and DC DMV will need to revalidate these documents prior to issuing a REAL ID credential. Therefore, be sure to view the list of acceptable documents and bring those with you when you visit a DC DMV Service Center when obtaining, converting, renewing, or requesting a duplicate credential. DC DMV moved to a central issuance process in November 2013 and will mail your credential to you. Without the required documentation, DC DMV will not be able to issue you a REAL ID driver license or identification card. There are no exceptions to the document requirements or mailing of credentials. 

Throughout the next year, residents will be notified by DC DMV to update their driver license or ID card to the REAL ID credential. For these notifications, residents will not be a charged a fee. However, the fees are the same for residents who are obtaining a credential for the first time or who are converting an out-of-state license or ID, as well as those who are renewing or requesting a duplicate credential.

87 Comment

  • I’m pretty pissed that I have to show the DMV all of these things, that I already had to show them when I got my driver’s license in the first place. And if you think the DMV is bad now, just wait for the super shit show nightmare that this is going to cause. People will be camping out the night before to get a place in line.

    • It’s a federal law. Blame DHS not DC DMV.

      • Oh, believe me, I know it’s DHS security theater. But don’t think for a second that DC DMV is prepared to have half a million people come in for DL renewals. They’re barely functional, as it is.

        • Barely functional? Not sure what they did to you but they’re definitely better than “barely functional”.

          • Agreed. I think ~90% of the complaints about DMV are just because you’re supposed to complain about how inefficient DMV is. I’ve always had really great, quick service at the DC DMV (unlike other states I’ve lived in).

          • When I moved to VA I spent approximately 75 hours at the DMV (multiple long visits over the course of 4 months) trying to get my license and registration switched to that state. In DC the same prcoess took 40 minutes, on a Saturday no less. I’d say we have a damn good DMV.

          • You guys are crazy. Last time I went to the DMV on a Saturday, I waited in line for an hour just to get inside the door, then it was another hour wait to see someone at the counter to complete a very simple transaction. If you think that making hundreds of thousands of license holders come into the DMV and provide these documents in order to get this stupid new license is going to breeze, then you have another thing coming.

          • I’ve found the DC DMV to be very efficient and the employees to be genuine people (as opposed to the robots I’ve dealt with at other DMVs). Also, their computer systems seem to usually be working (a big problem at the DMV of a certainly neighboring state).

          • Yeah, implying that the DC DMV is efficient because they can complete a task in 0.89% of the time it takes the Virginia DMV is crazy…

      • Well, more like blame Congress really.

    • justinbc

      It’s not like someone is going to show up at your door on Day 1 and demand you show papers or anything. Just go whenever it’s convenient and don’t sweat it.

  • Thanks for not charging me a fee reminding me that I will need to get a RealID!!!!

  • I received this e-mail the other day. The part about the fees and when they apply is really confusingly worded.
    I _think_ what they meant by “Throughout the next year, residents will be notified by DC DMV to update their driver license or ID card to the REAL ID credential. For these notifications, residents will not be a charged a fee” was actually “Throughout the next year, residents will be notified by DC DMV to update their driver license or ID card to the REAL ID credential. For _DRIVER’S LICENSES AND ID CARDS ISSUED AS A RESULT OF_ these notifications, residents will not be a charged a fee.”
    So I _think_ the deal is that there’s no charge if you update/”upgrade” your regular license (or ID card) to the “REAL ID” version. However, if you were getting a license for the first time, if you were exchanging an out-of-state license for a D.C. one, if your license was due to expire anyway, or if you wanted a duplicate license, then you would pay the fee.
    I think.

    • That sounds right.

    • Yes, this is the only way it makes sense.

    • Oops, that was me at Anonymouys 11:12 a.m.
      I wonder who was responsible for the wording “For these notifications, residents will not be a charged a fee” (and how many people signed off on the press release without flagging it). As if they’d charge for the notification itself??

    • I assumed that’s what they meant. They also capitalized “Federal Government” for no good reason, so.

      • I don’t know if the D.C. government follows GPO (Government Printing Office) style, but if they do, that would explain it — GPO style has a few weird rules, like capitalizing “Federal Government.”

  • A quick websearch via Dogpile reveals that everyone will need to get their identity verified in order to receive the REAL ID. You will get a notice in the mail when you need to go in to the DMV. The new ID will be mailed to you once your identity is confirmed.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      But do we all have to get one this year or when our licenses normally expire? Can you ask Dogpile for me?

      • You can wait until your license expires to get one if you ignore the notice. The catch is that you’ll need a real id to enter federal buildings and board airplanes (in lieu of a US passport) so if you need to do those things in the coming months and years, you’ll want to get the new ID prior to your normal renewal time.

        • Prince Of Petworth

          Ah ok that makes sense. Thanks. I see I have until 2016 to still board airplanes with my old license – but I think I might as well get it out of the way when I get the notice anyway.

          • That is what is going to be a shitshow…can you imagine the freakout across the nation about not being able to board a plane because you didn’t update your id to some “real ID” bs?

        • I am not sure that it’s correct that you will need a real id to board a plane right away. I checked TSA’s website and can’t find anything so definitive. They do require a valid state id (among other acceptable forms of id). So, I think the issue is whether an un-renewed DC license is valid.

        • This is not the only document that meets the REAL ID requirement, btw. Since we live in Fedistan, it’s worth pointing out that all Federal IDs are REAL IDs, as are military IDs.

  • I just changed my address and got a new DC license last week…. and gone was the fairly fine one with “Washington DC” on it in blue, and there was a slightly pink cherry blossom thingy with itty bitty text. Is that the new Real ID? Did I get it early? Or was there another redesign I haven’t seen before in between?

  • So what’s the answer to the question? The DMV quote is completely cryptic:

    “Throughout the next year, residents will be notified by DC DMV to update their driver license or ID card to the REAL ID credential.”

    My current DC driver’s license was issued last year and doesn’t expire until 2021. I have no interest in getting a new one before then. Will we all be forced to make a trip sometime soon, or only when your renewal comes up?

    • Per the news report I heard last night, the TSA will stop accepting non-REAL ID compliant driver licenses in 2017 (aka the old DC one) even if they don’t expire until many years into the future. So, yes, you likely will need to get the new idea unless you don’t need to fly anywhere, but this is also why DC won’t be charging people who need to exchange a valid, unexpired old license for the new one.

      I think.

    • Per the news report I heard last night, the TSA will stop accepting non-REAL ID compliant driver licenses in 2017 (aka the old DC one) even if they don’t expire until many years into the future. So, yes, you likely will need to get the new driver license/REAL ID unless you don’t need to fly anywhere, but this is also why DC won’t be charging people who need to exchange a valid, unexpired old license for the new one.

      I think.

    • “However, if you do not need a DMV related transaction, then over the next year, DC DMV will notify residents to visit us during certain times of the week so we can replace your current credential with a REAL ID credential. You will be required to bring in your documents for revalidation; however, you will not be required to pay a fee for the transaction.”

      From: http://dmv.dc.gov/page/real-id-credential

  • I just got a DC drivers license almost a year ago, and these new requirements don’t seem to be any different from the old ones. I needed the same SS documentation, birth certificate and proof of residency. Exactly how do these new requirements differ from the old ones?

    • You don’t normally need all that stuff for renewals though, or at least I never have.

      Also, these new ids fight terrorists.

  • i am pretty freaking pissed off that i’m going to have to take time to both gather this documentation, AND wait in line at the DMV (oh no, thank YOU, DC! i had no need for that vacation time), and then i’m going to be ID-less for a month while waiting for this thing, despite a license that wasn’t set to expire for more than 5 years. this is a huge fail on the part of DC’s government and a huge burden on the people who have to comply, for not a lot of gain.

    • “i’m going to be ID-less for a month while waiting for this thing” – How so?
      “huge fail on the part of DC’s government” – see above, this is mandated by the Federal Government, not DC. If you’re gonna get all hot and bothered about it at least do it correctly.

      • It does take 2-3 weeks for the new ID to arrive in the mail. In the interim, they give you a paper one. But that may or may not be recognized as a valid ID.

        • …and you have to surrender your current ID when you go in for the Real ID? They don’t currently make you do this when renewing your license by mail.

  • FYI: http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/count-down-to-real-id.aspx Dec. 20, 2013 | The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that phased in enforcement of the REAL ID Act will begin on Jan. 20, 2014. This announcement follows a nearly year-long period of deferred enforcement. The REAL ID Act aims to create national standards for state issued driver’s licenses and identification cards so they may be used to board commercial aircraft and access certain federal facilities.
    DHS plans to implement REAL ID enforcement over four phases, with each phase consisting of two distinct deadlines. The first deadline will begin a three-month “warning” period where noncompliant IDs will still be accepted. Following this three-month period, full enforcement of the phase will begin, and IDs from noncompliant states will no longer be accepted for federal purposes as defined in the act.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/REAL_ID_Act

    There’s a wiki dedicated to the legislation for this headache

  • It appears to me that if you have a passport or a TSA Pre-check card, you will be able to use them to enter government buildings. A “Real ID is necessary if you have no other form of government-sanctioned identification.

    • epric002

      who has a TSA Pre-check card? I have TSA Pre-check, but they never issued me (or anyone else that I know of) a card.

      • I don’t think you get a card just for Pre-Check, as there are supposed to be random times that you have to go through full screening. Hasn’t happened to me yet, but if the Pre-Check logo doesn’t appear on your boarding pass you have to go through the regular line (the horror….)
        You can get a card with Global Entry that allows you car, train or boat passage in North America, and with Global Entry comes Pre-Check, but that’s the only card I know of.

        • I have a global entry card and work for the government so I also have an official government id. I sometimes use the government id at the airport rather than my driver’s license (mainly if I’m coming from work and forgot to take it off so it’s more convenient). I’m wondering if this means I can wait until my license expires in 2021 to “upgrade” to the real id.

      • I have TSA Pre-Check and I was issued a card.

  • I have a feeling that most of us have gone paperless with our billing, so it might be a little hard to come up with some of these necessary documents. And a lot of people probably don’t have an official copy of their birth certificate or a passport. What a pain in the ass, for something that absolutely does not make us more safe.

    • Even the paperless bills have your address on them – you can always print out a pdf of a month’s statement.

      • I’ve been denied proof of residency because I brought in printouts. I think that was in VA though, and they’re a bit backwards out there.

  • I was going to renew my ID at the end of this month. Will that be a Real ID? Or do the Real IDs not start until May 1?

    • “Effective May 1, 2014, DC DMV will begin issuing REAL ID driver licenses and identification cards.”

      • The problem is that their website doesn’t tell me what I’ll get when I go in at the end of this month to get a new ID. All the info is about the Real ID.

        • Right – because they take 2-3 weeks to process and get you the new ID, I’m not sure what that means if you go in before May 1. Sounds like it’s worth it just to wait, if you can, so you potentially won’t have to go twice.

  • Agreed, this is absurd, brought about by a Congress in total panic mode after 9/11, crudely implemented by the DHS, and clumsily implemented by the DMV. There’s plenty of opposition to this nonsense, but there’s no stopping something labeled anti-terrorism, however inconvenient it is for the public. Wikipedia is worth quoting:

    “The Real ID Act has faced criticism from across the political spectrum and remains the subject of several ongoing controversies. Opponents of the Real ID Act include libertarian groups, like the Cato Institute,[31] immigrant advocacy groups, human and civil rights organizations like the ACLU, Christian advocacy groups such as the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ),[32] privacy advocacy groups like the 511 campaign, state-level opposition groups such as from North Carolina[33] and Florida,[34] government accountability groups, labor groups like AFL-CIO, People for the American Way, consumer and patient protection groups, some gun rights groups, many state lawmakers, state legislatures, and governors, and The Constitution Party among others.[35][36] Real ID is opposed by such groups as Gun Owners of America, by the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, and Obama administration. Along with the Bush administration, the Real ID Act is strongly supported by the conservative Heritage Foundation and by many anti-illegal immigration advocates.[35] Founded by evangelical Christian Pat Robertson, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) participated in a joint press conference with the ACLU in 2008, highlighting the broad diversity of the coalition opposing Title II of the REAL ID Act.[37] The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has also voiced concern about REAL ID.[38]

    “Several legal challenges to REAL ID are underway by individuals in state courts, including Adrian Wyllie in Florida[39] and Kaye Beach in Oklahoma.[40]

    “Among the 2008 presidential candidates, according to a February 2008 CNet report at news.com, John McCain strongly supported the Real ID Act, Barack Obama and Ron Paul flatly opposed it, while Hillary Clinton called for the law to be reviewed.[41] In a September 2007 interview Mike Huckabee expressed opposition to the Real ID Act, calling the Real ID Act “a huge mistake”.[42]”


    Bottom line is, you don’t need this thing except for entry to Federal buildings, or for getting through airport security. And if you have a passport, you don’t need it at all.

    Jeez, welcome to the authoritarian state: “Ausweis, bitte!”

    — Jack

    • So the Obama administration supports it, but candidate Obama flatly opposed it? Typical.

      • Well, they have to enact the law because it’s an act of Congress. Obama can personally oppose it, but the law is the law and it must be enforced. Unless, of course, Congress decides to do something about it and change the statute.
        But my guess is the GOP controlled House has no plans to do that, since they want to pin this on Obama and the over-reaching Federal gub’mint.

  • I’m not getting a new one until they tell me explicitly that I have to.

  • I’m planning on flying out of DCA in May, so now I have to get a REAL ID to make this trip? Am I correct?

  • So does this mean we have all had FAKE IDs this whole time?

  • Muriel Bowser saw the ad for “Real ID” and asked we all REAL-ize this is important. She was very proud to contribute to this discussion – she knows leadership like adding another pun to the conversation is crucial for all DC residents.

    When asked if she had any other opinions on the issue, she said “like REAL ones?, no I don’t.”

  • I just found out about this today from the radio news. Thing is I might be on the other side of the fence with everyone else. I think it might be worth it to go May 1 (or shortly thereafter), say I lost my ID, give them the docs, pay the $20 and get the REAL ID early rather than having to wait for the letter and possibly wait with all the other yahoos who will probably get the letter at the same time.

    Hey, at least, I’ll be able to see how many people say when they see my ID: “What’s the District of Columbia”?

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