Obtaining a District of Columbia state ID allows applicants a form of government-issued identification. Having an identification card gives you access to various services and permissions, such as letting officials know you can enter federal buildings or other premises, and helping medical professionals know whether or not you are an organ donor.

Although a state-issued ID card does not allow you permission to drive a motor vehicle, it awards you the same proof of identity privileges as a DC drivers license. You can get a DMV ID card (also known as a non-driver ID) issued by your local DMV office. Read on to learn what you need to qualify and apply for a photo ID the District of Columbia, including how to replace lost credentials and how to handle renewal, when the time comes.

Washington DC DMV ID Requirements

The District of Columbia provides a state ID card for non-drivers in two versions: REAL ID cards and limited-purpose ID credentials. You must specifically get a limited-purpose card if you are, in some way, ineligible for a Social Security Number, or SSN. Since need to verify you cannot receive a Social Security Number to get a limited-purpose ID, this means that the DMV state ID requirements are slightly different to get one credential type or the other, but there are many requirements that apply to getting either kind of ID.

You must meet the basic ID card requirements in order to qualify for a REAL ID or limited-purpose ID in DC. To obtain either version, you must:

  • Be at least 15 years of age.
  • Not have a driver’s license.
  • Be able to prove residency in the District of Columbia for at least six months or longer.
  • Have parental approval (if you are younger than 18 years of age).
  • Have either a Social Security Number (if applying for a REAL ID) or proof that you are ineligible to receive one (if applying for a limited-purpose card).

You must also pay a certain fee to get a DMV new ID, in most scenarios. However, you can get your first credential for free if you are a senior citizen (65 years of age or older), homeless or have been released from prison at some point in the last six months.

If you were recently released from prison, you will receive a free DMV identification card that will only be valid for six months. However, even if you qualify for a free ID card, you will still need to pay to renew or replace your ID card if you lose it, or when it expires.

What do you need to get an ID in Washington DC?

For those asking, “What do you need to get a state ID in DC?” the documents needed vary slightly, depending on if you are getting a limited-purpose card, instead of a REAL ID card. There are also certain documents that you can substitute in various ways. The documents required for state ID cards are:

  • A completed application form.
  • One document that proves your age and identity.
  • At least two documents that prove you are a resident of the District of Columbia.
  • A completed Parental Consent Form, if you are under 18 years of age.
  • A Social Security card, or a document that proves you have a Social Security Number (if applying for a REAL ID card).
  • A Social Security Declaration Form, which states that you are ineligible for a Social Security card (if applying for a limited-purpose ID).

When you prepare the documents needed for state ID card application, and you realize you cannot bring your Social Security card to the DMV, You can furnish any of the following documents to prove you have a valid SSN, instead:

  • A payment statement showing your Social Security Number and name
  • A completed 1099 form displaying your Social Security Number and name
  • A completed W-2 form with your Social Security Number and name listed

Additionally, how to get an ID card in DC requires you to bring documents to prove your age and identity. These can include the below:

  • An active United States passport
  • An active passport issued in another country, along with a current visa
  • A birth certificate
  • An active Employment Authorization card
  • A U.S. Certificate of Citizenship or a Certificate of Naturalization

The DMV identification application also requires you to bring proof that you are a resident of the District of Columbia. You can do so with the below documents:

  • A DC DMV Proof of Residency Form
  • Any kind of bill (such as phone bill) received in the last 60 days, showing your name and address
  • An official letter from a college or university in the District of Columbia showing your name and address
  • A student loan statement received in the last issued 60 days showing your name and address
  • A current lease or rental agreement document displaying your name
  • Any letters from government organizations other than the District of Columbia DMV received in the last 60 days
  • A financial account statement received in the last 60 days that shows your name and address

How to Get an ID in Washington DC

Applicants cannot get an ID online in the District of Columbia, so you must deliver all of the required forms in person, at a DMV office.

If you are younger than 18 years of age, and plan to obtain a DMV ID card, start by downloading the Parental Consent Form, and fill it out with your parent/guardian. Make sure to get this form filled out first, because if you do not obtain parental approval, the DMV will not accept any of the other documents, and will not be able to approve your application.

Next, download and fill out the official form to apply for ID in the District of Columbia, which can be found online. After that, locate and collect the necessary documents that prove your residency and identity.

If you are applying for a REAL ID card, then make sure to have your Social Security card handy. If, for some reason, you do not have access to your Social Security card, collect one or more official documents that list(s) your Social Security Number. If you do not have a Social Security card, download the Social Security Declaration form, and fill it out for submission.

Once you have all of these documents ready, take them to the nearest DMV office, which is where to get state ID in Washington DC. You can either make an appointment to submit the forms or walk in to the DMV office, and submit the forms, in person. When you submit the forms, makes sure to pay the application fee to complete the process.  You will then receive a temporary credential at the end of your visit. Your official ID will arrive in the mail within 10 business days.

REAL ID Cards in Washington DC

The REAL ID card has one advantage over the limited-purpose ID card: it works like a federal ID card, which means you can enter certain federal buildings and board domestic flights after the Real ID enforcement goes into effect, nationwide, on October 1, 2020.

To apply for REAL ID credentials in D.C., you need to be at least 15 years of age, have a Social Security Number and reside in the District of Columbia. Just like applying to get a limited-purpose ID, you must get parental approval before applying, if you are younger than 18 years of age.

How to Renew or Replace a State ID in Washington DC

Your ID card will last up to eight years, at which point you need to renew it, unless you get a driver’s license, instead. Additionally, if you are dealing with a lost ID card in Washington DC, or if your credential is damaged, you will need to seek out a replacement. You can get a replacement ID card or renew your credentials online, via mail or in person, at a DMV office.

Online ID Card Renewal and Replacement

You can renew or replace your ID card online in the District of Columbia under certain circumstances. These include if:

  • It will expire within the next 60 days.
  • Your name and address information have not changed since you applied for your first ID card.
  • You applied in person the last time to you obtained or renewed your credentials.
  • You can supply a credit card, your Social Security Number and your date of birth.

To get a DMV replacement ID or to renew online, go to the DMV website, and fill out the appropriate form. When you are finished, pay the ID renewal fee or replacement fee using your credit card, and then print your receipt for your records. The DMV office will then send you a new card within 10 business days.

Renewing and Replacing DC ID Cards by Mail

You can renew or replace your state ID card by mail, if you have a limited-purpose credential, or a REAL ID with a star in one corner. In this case, you will receive a notice that you can renew by mail 60 days before your current card expires. When you receive that notice, follow its renewal instructions closely, and mail your renewal documents to the address listed, along with the required payment.

In-Person ID Card Renewal and Replacement

You will need to renew or replace your Washington DC identification card in person, if, for some reason, you no longer have access to your original card. To get a renewed or replacement ID card, collect all of the documents you needed to apply for your original card, and submit them to your DMV office.

Once you have submitted these forms, pay the renewal or replacement fee, and you will be issued a temporary ID to use until your new card arrives in the mail. Just like with your original card, you should receive the renewed credential within 10 business days of application.

DMV ID Costs in Washington DC

The District of Columbia DMV offices charge the same amount for either a REAL ID or a limited-purpose credential. You will also pay the same amount to renew or replace an ID that you are required to pay for a first-time card issuance. The flat-rate ID credential fee in Washington D.C. is $20.

Keep in mind that you will need to pay the DMV ID cost using a valid credit card when you utilize the online service to order a state ID renewal or replacement.

Last updated on Wednesday, March 4 2020.