West Virginia’s Div. of Motor Vehicles has a big clock counting down to a deadline of May 3, 2023. As of November 25th, there are only 158 days left to get a REAL ID driver’s license.
Without it, you cannot board an airliner in the United States without carrying a passport, pass card, or Department of Defense ID card. In fact, you can not only get on a plane, but also enter a federal building (for sure – not a post office) or a military base.
This is what the West Virginia REAL ID driver’s license looks like:
Notice that there is a gold circle with a white star in the upper right corner. This DL design was launched in late 2020. There is also an older version that looks like this:
This older version has a gold star in the upper right corner. In any case, there is a star in the upper right corner. This signals the TSA and Homeland Security guards at the airport that you have REAL ID and can board a plane (unless you have a passport, etc.).
In fact, some WV driver’s licenses say “Not for Federal ID” or “Not for REAL ID”. This does not work if you board a plane after May 3, 2023.
Here’s exactly what the WV Div. of motor vehicles says about this deadline:
State enforcement of the REAL ID Act is scheduled to begin on May 3, 2023. To board a plane or enter some federal buildings, you need a REAL ID-compliant ID.
They point out that the website www.dhs.gov/real-id shows which other IDs are accepted. It also has 2 must-watch videos on the importance of the May 3, 2023 deadline.
How to get a REAL ID card in West Virginia
West Virginia has a truly unique program for people who want to get a REAL ID and WV Div. of motor vehicles. All states have a requirement that drivers must personally deliver documents to a state official. But WV has a REAL ID Headstart program.
You can schedule a Headstart appointment online and then bring your paperwork with you to the appointment. This saves you long waiting times. However, this pre-registration service costs $3.95 before you pay the REAL ID driver’s license fee ($10 on top of the normal driver’s license renewal fee).
Details of documents required for a REAL ID
You must bring the following documents with you:
Please visit any regional office and be sure to bring proof of ID, proof of social security number and two proofs of physical residence.
If your name has changed and differs from that on your ID, you must also bring name change documents to view the link in the name.
WV is not very clear about these documents. Most other states are much clearer, as you can see in this article about Kentucky and its document list. Incidentally, all states have the same document requirements as this is a function of the rules of the Dept. of Homeland Security and the REAL ID Act of 2005.
However, WV does have an FAQ page that addresses some questions about the types of documents required. In addition, they have an “Acceptable Evidence Documents” page that shows:
- Proof of identity documents:
- An original or certified copy of a United States-issued birth certificate (US Department of State and US military birth certificates ARE acceptable, hospital birth certificates and Bureau of Census records are NOT acceptable)
- To obtain a birth certificate if you were born in West Virginia, contact the Office of Vital Statistics or the County Clerk at the county courthouse in which you were born. If you were born in another state, the National Center for Health Statistics provides information on obtaining a birth certificate.
- Valid, unexpired US passport or official US passport
- If foreign-born, valid, unexpired Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documents or acceptable alternatives as described below:
- Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) issued by DHS (or INS)
- Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by DHS, Form I-766 or Form I-688B
- Certificate of Naturalization issued by DHS, Form N-550 or Form N-570
- Certificate of Citizenship, Form N-560 or Form N-561 issued by DHS
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) issued by the US Department of State, Form FS-240, DS-1350 or FS-545
- Foreign passport with a valid, unexpired U.S. visa attached along with the approved I-94 form documenting the applicant’s most recent entry into the United States.
2. Proof of social security documents:
- social security card
- Original wage and tax (W-2) statement or payslip showing the applicant’s employer name and employer ID number and the applicant’s name, address, and social security number (a photocopy of a W-2 is not acceptable) (It may be the same Use W-2 as proof of WV residency provided it is not older than 18 months)
- 1099 form with applicant’s full social security number and name
Please ensure your social security records include your full legal name as reflected on your other documents. DMV must be able to name-link documents, so your full legal name must match your name on file with Social Security. If an applicant is not eligible for a Social Security Number, the applicant must submit a letter of refusal from the Social Security Administration. The department verifies every social security number with the SSA. If you have a problem with the SSA, e.g. B. If your name or date of birth does not match DMV and SSA records, you must have the problem rectified before a permit, license or ID can be issued to you. Your documents will be scanned and mailed back to you, providing DMV with a historical record and giving you additional protection under the Federal Real ID Act of 2005. Please visit the Social Security Administration website for information on obtaining a Social Security Number.
3. Proof of legal name changes. DMV must be able to establish a connection between all legal name changes.
- Notarized marriage certificate (for each marriage, if married more than once, souvenir documents or copies of the minister are not acceptable)
(If you need one, contact the district court in the county and state where you were married (click here for a WV directory)); or
- Original or certified copy of a birth certificate with a changed legal name
- If you were born in West Virginia, contact the Office of Vital Statistics to obtain a birth certificate. If you were born in another state, the National Center for Health Statistics provides information on obtaining a birth certificate.
- Legal Name/Name Change Court Order
- Notarized divorce decrees with legal name/name change
- If you are 50 years or olderhave met all other documentation requirements, hold a current WV driver’s license or ID card in the name to be verified, and have gone through at least one WV license renewal cycle, a signed statement such as the marriage certificate or divorce decree may be submitted in lieu of the name change document.
4. Proof of residency documents for West Virginia
- You must provide TWO Proof of residency in West Virginia.
- Documents with a PO Box will not be accepted.
- Any recurring document must be no more than 60 days old (such as a utility bill or bank statement).
- A notice of termination from a utility company cannot be used as proof of residency.
- You may not use more than one WV proof of residence issued by the same company.
- Married applicants may present residence documents from this list on behalf of their spouse if accompanied by a certified marriage certificate.
Here is a partial list of residency documents:
- WV utility bills (no older than 60 days, cannot be a notice of cancellation and cannot be two bills issued by the same company)
- Tax records with a WV street address
- WV mortgage documents, WV homeowner insurance documents for a WV apartment or proof of WV home ownership
- WV W-2 form not older than 18 months (you can use the same W-2 form as proof of your social security number)
- WV gun permit
- A valid WV registration certificate
- WV voter registration card
- Check out the whole list on this page.
If you are not a US citizen but are legally residing in the country, bring all your documents proving this to WV Div. of motor vehicles. They will indicate whether or not additional documentation is required.
Don’t wait – don’t hesitate
This article aims to show you that going through the entire REAL ID process will take some time. It is best to make an appointment in advance and bring all the necessary documents with you to your appointment.
If you don’t, be prepared to wait in line for quite a while, especially as the May 3, 2023 deadline nears next year. So now is actually a good time to take care of it to avoid those long lines.
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Mark R. Hake, CFA, contributes articles on national and local news, stocks and market events InvestorPlace.com, barchart.com, Medium.comand Newsbreak.com as well as talc markets.