All residents must be Real ID-compliant by May 3, 2023. (Wikimedia Commons)
**FILE** A Real ID-compliant driver's license (Wikimedia Commons)

The Department of Homeland Security wants all Americans, including every D.C. resident, recognized universally as a star — at least they want you to have that one star on your driver’s license that proves you’re REAL ID-compliant.

Officials essentially put the program off for two years because of the pandemic, but in 2023, travelers must show that they’re REAL ID-compliant to board domestic flights and access certain federal facilities.

In the District of Columbia, those facilities include certain museums.

As of November, D.C. reportedly had the highest rate of those already in compliance, with more than 600,000 residents.

Maryland currently enjoys an 88% compliance rate, while Virginia is relatively stagnant at 43%, despite the increasing need for REAL ID compliance.

“You have to have a REAL ID to get into an airplane to fly domestically or to get into a federal facility like a military installation,” Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Linda Ford stated.

“When you come to the DMV, you can actually get your Virginia birth certificate on the same visit and then subsequently use that document for your Real ID application. Likewise, if you can’t find your marriage certificate or you need a divorce decree, you can also get those at the DMV office,” Ford added.

Residents must have one proof of age and identity, proof of Social Security, and two proofs of residency to obtain a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card.

District of Columbia residents can upgrade to a REAL ID license or get a Limited Purpose driver’s license, which individuals cannot use as a federal identification, officials noted in a news release. 

Washington residents can get a new license at a local District Department of Motor Vehicles office. 

The District of Columbia DMV will not permit individuals to get a DC DMV REAL ID license if they have outstanding debts to the District or unpaid fines for moving traffic violations in other jurisdictions.

To get the REAL ID with the star, individuals must appear at their local Washington, D.C. DMV in person and bring certain documents to prove U.S. citizenship and Washington, D.C. residency. 

The Washington, D.C. government maintains an extensive FAQ web page about obtaining a REAL ID in the District. 

Transportation Security Administration officers who staff the ticket document checking station at airports will not allow travelers into the checkpoint without a REAL ID license or another form of acceptable ID after May 3, 2023.

“REAL ID is a coordinated effort by the federal government to improve the reliability and accuracy of driver licenses and identification cards,” DHS officials noted in the release. 

“The improvements are intended to inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.”

For more information and details about obtaining a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card in the District of Columbia, visit the District’s Department of Motor Vehicles website.TSA also has a one-minute video that provides information about flying with a REAL ID.

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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