Know before you go! Check out our Waiting Area Webcams.
Central Issuance and New Credentials
Effective November 26, 2013, DC DMV is moving to a central issuance process. Driver licenses and identification cards will be mailed to customers, and they will no longer be issued over the counter. DC DMV does not mail to P.O. Boxes. Customers will be issued a temporary paper license or identification card that will be valid for 45 days, and the new credential should arrive in the mail in approximately two weeks. Additionally, the driver license and identification card have been redesigned, a motor vehicle industry best practice, to reduce fraud.
Central Issuance FAQs
1. What does “Central Issuance” mean? DC DMV no longer issues driver licenses or identification cards over-the-counter in DMV service centers. The credential is printed and mailed from a centralized location.
2. How does the temporary credential work? A temporary driver license or identification card will be issued for identification and driving purposes until the credential arrives in the mail within approximately two weeks. The credential is mailed in an unmarked envelope in much the same way as credit cards or passports are mailed.
The temporary document contains a photo and all of the information that is contained on the credential, including the readable barcode.
3. When will the District of Columbia begin issuing new DL/IDs? November 26, 2013.
4. Why did DC DMV make this change? Central Issuance is a safer and more secure way to handle one of the most important documents a person possesses.
5. Does Central Issuance affect both driver licenses and identification cards? Yes, it affects ALL driver licenses, permits, and identification cards issued by DC DMV.
6. Is it safe to mail my driver’s license, permit, or identification card? The process used to mail driver licenses, permits, and identification cards is similar to that used by the financial services industry to mail credit and debit cards.
7. What new security features are included? Details are included in DC DMV’s brochure explaining the central issuance process and redesigned driver licenses and identification cards.
8. Will I have to do anything different to apply for or renew a driver license, permit, or identification card? No. The application process and fees are the same. You will continue to visit your local DC DMV Service Center to apply. You will take the required tests and have your photo made. You will continue to pay for your license at the DC DMV location. However, instead of receiving your license the same day over-the-counter, you will be issued a temporary driver license, permit, or identification card that is valid for 45 days until your credential arrives in the mail.
9. Why is my photo in black and white? The grayscale laser engraved image is virtually tamper resistant and vastly increases the overall security of the driver license and identification card.
10. Why can’t I obtain my driver license or identification card at a DC DMV Service Center? Driver licenses, permits, and identification cards are now being printed and mailed from a secure location.
11. Why is DC DMV changing the design of the District of Columbia driver license and identification card? The new design has more security features and is a motor vehicle industry best practice standard.
12. Do other states use this new procedure? Approximately 15 jurisdictions (and counting) have moved to issuing credentials using a central issuance process since this is a best practice within the motor vehicle community.
13. Can I pay extra to have my driver license, learner permit, or identification card mailed certified or Federal Express? No.
14. Can I arrange to pick up my driver license, learner permit, or identification card? No. The credential will be mailed.
15. What happens if I need to get my credential on the same day? There is no way for us to issue a credential on the same day. You will receive a paper Temporary driver license, permit, or identification card which you can use for up to 45 days until you receive your credential in the mail. You can renew your driver license up to six months before it expires.
16. Is my current license or identification card still valid? Yes. Your current driver license or identification card is valid until the expiration date indicated on the credential.
17. How long will it take for my new driver license or identification card to arrive in the mail? Approximately two weeks.
18. What happens if I don’t receive my driver license or identification card? The credential should arrive in approximately two weeks. If 15 or more calendar days have passed and you have not received your credential, call the Citywide Call Center at 311.
19. Can I live at one location and have my license mailed elsewhere? If so, do I still need to provide proof of that address? No.
20. Can you mail my new credential to a P.O. Box? No. Credentials must be mailed to your physical address on file in DC DMV’s system.
21. How much more does this cost? The fee is the same.
22. What does the temporary document look like? An example is available in DC DMV’s brochure.
23. How long is the temporary document valid? The temporary document is valid for 45 days from the date of issue.
24. If my temporary document is lost or destroyed, can I get another one and will I have to provide proof of identity? Yes. There is not a charge for a duplicate of the temporary document. Review the list of acceptable documents to show proof of identity, date of birth and SSN.
25. Has DC DMV done any outreach to businesses, law enforcement agencies, and other jurisdictions about the temporary paper credential that will be issued? Yes, DC DMV has reached out to TSA, DC businesses, law enforcement, and other jurisdictions about the new credential and central issuance process. They are aware that we will be issuing temporary credentials.
26. Will businesses accept the temporary document as identification for cashing checks, buying alcohol, tobacco, etc…? This has not been reported to be an issue in other states where central issuance exists. However, similar to normal DMV credentials, each business may decide if the temporary document will be accepted.
27. Will other states/countries recognize the temporary document as valid identification? If you are planning to travel, please plan ahead and renew online (if eligible) or visit a DC DMV Service Center early. Additionally, a passport is required for travel to most other countries. Most other state governments require additional forms of identification as well. Each business may determine whether to accept it as identification.
28. Will the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and other government agencies accept it? Each government agency will independently decide whether or not to accept the temporary document as identification. Please visit TSA’s website for additional information related to travel requirements.
29. When I surrendered my previous credential, DC DMV hole-punched the card and gave it back to me. Can I use the hole-punched card as identification? The hole-punched card is not valid by itself, but may be used as an additional proof of identity with the temporary document. It will be up to businesses, government agencies, and other states and countries as to whether or not the entity will accept the temporary document together with the hole-punched card as identification. You must destroy the hole-punched card once you receive your credential in the mail.
30. Can the temporary document be used for driving and airline travel? Yes. The temporary document is valid for 45 days until your credential arrives in the mail in approximately 15 calendar days. In regards to airline travel, visit TSA’s website for additional information related to travel requirements.
31. I changed my address before my permanent credential arrived. What address will show? Will the post office forward it? The mailing address you provided at the time you applied will be printed on your driver license, learner permit, or identification card. The post office may not forward the envelope containing your permanent credential. If your address has changed, you need to apply for a change of address, pay applicable fees, and another credential will be mailed to your new address.
32. What if I notice an error on my temporary document? How can I get it corrected? How long will it take? Will it delay getting my permanent credential? It depends on the individual situation. In some instances, DC DMV can verify the information and email you a corrected temporary document. For other cases, you may need to visit a DMV service center so the error can be corrected. You will be issued a new temporary document and the corrected credential will be mailed within two weeks from the date of correction. Once you receive your credential in the mail, examine to ensure it reflects the correct information.
33. Can I register a car during the 45-day waiting period that I have a temporary driver license? Yes. The temporary driver license is a valid document.
34. Will the driver license and identification card renewal by mail and Internet options still be available? Yes. If you renew your credential online, then you will be able to print the temporary license or identification card that is valid for 45 days. This process is similar to DC DMV's previous process. If you renew your license or identification card online, then your permanent credential will be mailed to you, and you should receive it in approximately two weeks.
35. Do I have to get a new picture? Yes, unless you conduct an online transaction.
36. May I smile during my credential photo? Yes. Smiling is permitted during the picture taking process.