In the past week, there have been several reports regarding deadlines for D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to comply with a federal law known as REAL ID. Unclear information caused many D.C. residents to raise concerns that they would need to rush to the DMV to obtain a new REAL ID by a May 1, 2014 deadline.  Please note that this is not the case. Below we outline some key questions and answers.

Do I need to get a new license or ID?

Only if your license or ID is due to expire. Otherwise, your license or ID will remain valid for all purposes until its expiration date.

Do I need to get a new ID before 2016 in order to board planes?

Only if your ID is due to expire. Contrary to initial reports, all IDs issued by D.C. DMV will remain valid beyond 2016 if their expiration date is after 2016. If your license is due to expire in 2018, for example, you do not need to worry, and you can continue to use it for all purposes until it expires.

Will DMV contact me about getting a new license?

DMV will be contacting D.C. residents whose IDs are set to expire to inform them of the documentation they will need to bring with them to get a new license. Due to REAL ID implementation, no one will be able to renew licenses online until they get a REAL ID compliant ID. To renew your license or ID you will need to bring: proof of identity such as birth certificate or passport, proof of social security number such as a card or W-2 form, a green card or other proof of lawful presence in the United States, and two documents proving current residence in the District of Columbia from this list.

More information can be found on DMV’s website.