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West Virginians have another year to get a REAL ID

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Oct. 1 was to be the deadline for residents across the U.S. to get a federal identification, called REAL ID, but the pandemic has pushed back the deadline a year to Oct. 1, 2021.

Natalie Holcomb

The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles has been offering REAL IDs to state residents for more than a half dozen years and many residents have taken advantage of the opportunity, according to DMV Public Information Specialist Natalie Holcomb.

“We have over 40% of our driver’s licenses, ID cards, are for federal and are REAL ID compliant,” Holcomb told MetroNews.

According to the federal office of Homeland Security, “The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.”

Holcomb said the REAL ID will most frequently be needed for anyone planning to fly. Holcomb said because of the pandemic those without REAL ID have another year to get one but it’s probably a good idea not to be put it off. The federal Transportation Security Administration does accept other forms of ID for air travel including passports.

REAL ID compliance is signified with a gold star in the top right corner of a West Virginia driver’s license.

Those not compliant are labeled “Not For Federal Identification” and have no gold stars.

There is also a $10 REAL ID surcharge on top of standard license fees.

DMV Regional Offices Open

After being closed for several weeks at the beginning of the pandemic, DMV regional offices across West Virginia have reopened and are offering all services.

“Every regional office is open for business. We do encourage you to make an appointment. We obviously encourage you to do you business online because that’s more convenience for you as a customer,” Holcomb said.

The DMV is observing social distancing guidelines at the regional offices.

“We do have to limit the numbers of people inside the office for social distancing purposes,” Holcomb said. “That’s why the encouragement on my part to go online if you can and go to one of those (DMV) kiosks,” Holcomb said.

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