What is REAL ID?


What is REAL ID?

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID ACT establishes minimum security standards for state-issued Driver’s Licenses (DL) and Identification (ID) cards that can be used for official federal purposes.


The Real ID card contains a "gold star", indicating that it meets REAL ID Act requirements for nationwide federal use at airports and other designated federal facilities.


Federal enforcement of the REAL ID Act is set to begin on May 7, 2025. To board an aircraft or get into some federal buildings, you will need to have a REAL ID-compliant credential. The Department of Homeland Security’s website at includes information regarding acceptable forms of REAL ID. One is a driver’s license. WV DMV does offer a REAL ID-compliant credential, often called a “For Federal” or “gold star” license or ID card.


If you currently have a “Not For Federal” or “Not For REAL ID Purposes” driver’s license or ID card, and you would like to switch to the REAL ID-compliant credential, DMV is happy to assist you. If you are unsure whether your driver's license or ID card is a "For Federal"/REAL ID Compliant credential, please check the images to the right.

Need to get your REAL ID? You have options!

Pre-enrollment with REAL ID Headstart


Real ID Headstart 

*New – REAL-ID Headstart PreEnrollment Service available to West Virginians. The new service from the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles is the easiest and fastest way to upgrade a current “Not for Federal Identification” type WV Driver’s License or State ID to a REAL ID. Enter your information, upload your documents, then book your appointment (once approved), it’s that easy! Spend up to 50% less time at the DMV during your in-person appointment!


Traditional In-Office Visit

Please visit any Regional Office and be sure to bring proof of identity, proof of Social Security Number, and two proofs of physical residency. If your name has changed and is different than what is on your proof of identity document, you will need to bring name change documents as well to show the link in names. Appointments are strongly encouraged for your convenience and may be made by visiting the DMV website at or by calling 304-558-3938. Also, you can use this handy interactive checklist to make sure you're bringing the right documents -


REAL ID Fully Compliant Driver's License image

Design introduced late 2020

REAL ID Fully Compliant Driver's License image 2020 design

Current design introduced in April 2023

REAL ID Fully Compliant Driver's License image 2023 design