Frequently Asked Questions

Q. When did Delaware's new driver license and identification (DL/ID) card process go into effect?

A: Delaware began issuing federally compliant DL/ID cards on July 1, 2010. In order to do so, we incorporated the following changes into our issuance process:

  • Reversed our customer flow to allow for the driver license or identification card photo to be taken right at the beginning of the issuance process.
  • Updated the look and security of our driver licenses and identification cards to make them extremely difficult to replicate.
  • Compare all driver license and identification card photos to our facial recognition database to ensure the person standing in front of us is who he/she says he/she is.
  • Produce and issue our driver licenses and identification cards from a highly secure card production room.
Q. Many states refuse to comply with federal identification standards. Why is the Delaware DMV making all these changes to comply?

A:By complying with these standards in addition to driving authority and identification, you will be able to use your driver license or identification card for domestic flights, entering federal facilities, and other official federal purposes. Without obtaining a federally compliant driver license or identification card you will be required to obtain a U.S. passport to do these things and obtaining a passport is more time consuming and expensive for you.

Q. What do I have to do to obtain a compliant driver license or identification card?

A: For existing driver license or identification card holders you will be presenting original source documents at the time of renewal like you did the first time you obtained your driver license or identification card. Again, this is a one-time revalidation; the only time the DMV will need to see your source documents again is if you decide to change any of the information on your driver license or identification card such as a name change or if your immigration documents expire. All new applicants will already be required to show this documentation, so for them it will be business as usual. See the acceptable documentation list for complete details.

Q. What documents are needed to get a compliant driver license or identification card?

A: Documents that prove your identity (i.e. name and date of birth), lawful status in the U.S., social security number, and residential address will be required. See the acceptable documentation list for complete details.

Q. If I have had several name changes due to marriage and divorce, may I still get a compliant driver license or identification card?

A: Yes; however, your name must be the same on all source documentation (exception: the name on your birth certificate should never change). The main point to remember is that if your name is different than what is presented on your passport or birth certificate, you must show how it changed. All documents such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order must be originals or certified copies.

Q. Am I required to obtain a compliant driver license or identification card?

A: While we felt it was absolutely necessary to comply with federal identification standards, we also understand that some existing customers may not want or be able to bring the necessary source documentation for obtaining a compliant DL/ID card. For individuals in this situation, you may obtain a non-compliant driver license or identification card.

Q. Does a compliant DL/ID card look different that a non-compliant DL/ID card?

A: Yes, but not by much. The overall appearance is the same; however, a compliant DL/ID card is distinguishable by the gold star in the upper right hand corner of the DL/ID card, and a non-compliant card is distinguishable by the phrase "Not for Federal Identification" printed in the upper margin of the DL/ID card.

Q. Can I still drive with a non-compliant DL?

A:Yes, the "compliant/non-compliant" status is used solely for federal identification purposes, not driving authority.

Q. Is a compliant card more expensive than a non-compliant card?

A: No, compliant DL/ID cards will be the same price as non-compliant DL/ID cards. If during mid-cycle you decide to "upgrade" your DL/ID card from non-compliant to compliant, then you would pay a $10.00 duplicate fee, like you currently would.

Q. Will I still be able to get my DL/ID card the same day that I come to the DMV?

A: Yes, the Delaware DMV will remain an over-the-counter issuance (i.e. walk out the same day with a driver license or identification card) state. Many states changed from over-the-counter to a central issuance (i.e. your DL/ID card will be mailed to you in a few days) in order to comply with federal identification standards. Delaware received over a million dollars in federal grants in order to further secure our issuance facilities so that we may remain over-the-counter. One of the upgrades includes highly secure rooms for driver license and identification card production.

Q. Will I have to come into the office and get a compliant DL/ID card as soon as Delaware starts issuing them?

A: No, there is no advantage in obtaining a compliant DL/ID card early. A Delaware driver license or identification card issued prior to July 1, 2010, will be acceptable for domestic airline travel or any other federal purpose at least through December 1, 2014.

Q. Can I use my existing Delaware driver license or identification card to fly on an airplane or do I have to wait until I get a compliant DL/ID card?

A: A Delaware driver license or identification card will be acceptable for airline travel or any other federal purpose at least through December 1, 2014. The federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) also accepts alternate documents for air travel such as passports, military IDs, etc. See TSA: ID Requirements for Airport Checkpoints.  This link opens in a new window

Q. What do I do if I can't find the information I need on the web site?

A:You can call 877.477.7117 for more information.



Federal Identification Standards Facts vs. Myths
Does not create a National Identification Card
In fact, driver licenses and identification cards (DLs/IDs) are issued by each state, not the federal government. The federal identification standards give states flexibility in issuing unique DLs/IDs based on states' own design concepts. All minimum data elements required by the federal law are already included on the Delaware's DLs/IDs.
Does not require a national database of personal information
In fact, federal identification standards do not grant the federal government or law enforcement greater access to DMV data, nor does it create a national database of personal information. Access to personal information maintained by the DMV is limited as described in the Delaware Driver Privacy Protection Act (Title 21 Del. C. § 305).
Does not contain an RFID chip
In fact, the federal identification standards do not require any form of radio frequency identification (RFID) chips. Delaware will not be putting an RFID chip in any card issued by the DMV.
Does not replace a U.S. passport
In fact, a U.S. passport will continue to be required for international travel. The U.S. Department of State's website provides a list of documents acceptable for international travel for air, land, and sea.
Does not control, restrict, or affect gun sales
In fact, the Real ID Act is specific to the issuance of DL/ID cards only. It does not prevent, control, or affect gun sales.