The Real ID Act takes effect Jan. 3 and will dramatically change how renewals and duplicate licenses are handled.
Natalie Harvey, spokeswoman for the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, said residents will now be required to bring in a proof of identify, which could be a certified birth certificate, a valid and unexpired United States passport, or a Department of Homeland Security document for foreign-born residents.
"You also will need one proof of Social Security number," she said, which could include an original Social Security card, or a tax statement or payroll stub with the applicant's name, address, Social Security number and the employer's name and ID number. An SSA-1099 benefits statement also can be used, she said.
Applicants also will need two proofs of residency documents, such as a voter registration card, utility bills, tax records or mortgage documents.
"This is already standard protocol for someone getting their driver's license for the first time," Harvey said.
For those whose name is different on their license then on their birth certificate, such as due to marriage, divorce or other name change, additional proof of legal name change will be required.
A full list of acceptable documents can be found online at www.dmv.wv. gov under Driver's Licenses. Harvey also said people can call the state DMV help line at 1-800-642-9066 for more information.
The cost of a renewal will remain $13, and the cost of a duplicate will be $5. Harvey said the documents brought in will be scanned and stored in a secure file.
Applicants will have the option of selecting a Real ID or a regular driver's license, though the documentation requirements are the same for both, Harvey said. The Real ID, which will look like a regular driver's license but bear a star in the corner, will be sent certified mail to the recipient within about 10 business days of the application. The regular driver's license, which can be printed on site, will bear a yellow box stating "Not for federal identification."
Harvey said the difference between the two IDs will mean those not bearing the Real ID may be asked to present additional proof of identity when getting on an airplane or entering a federal building.
Harvey said officials are working with media throughout the state and with regional offices to get the word out about the changes.
"We are doing everything we can to get the word out so people come in prepared," she said. "We don't want to have to send people out for more documentation."
Harvey said the intention is not to make the process more difficult, but to make it more secure. West Virginia is one of several states implementing the federal changes.
"Not every state is participating in the Real ID Act, but all states are working toward a more securing license process," she said. "In West Virginia, we are in compliance with the Real ID Act."
There are 1.4 million registered license drivers in West Virginia. A license is valid for five years and expires on the holder's birthday.