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Limited Purpose Credential

Effective May 1, 2014, the District of Columbia will begin issuing a Limited Purpose credential.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

The Limited Purpose credential also requires a one-time validation of source documents when applying for your DC Limited Purpose driver license or identification card. The driver knowledge and road tests will be required for all applicants applying for the Limited Purpose driver license.  First time DC applicants must be a resident of the District of Columbia for at least 6 months. Applicants must have never been issued a social security number, previously been issued a social security number but no longer eligible, or not be eligible for a social security number. The Limited Purpose driver license/identification card may not be used for official federal purposes, and it will be marked to reflect this requirement. You must schedule an appointment to obtain a Limited Purpose credential. Prior to your DMV appointment for a Limited Purpose driver license, be sure to study and review the Driver Manual in preparation for the knowledge test.  If you fail the knowledge test, you will be required to make another appointment.

Limited Purpose Credential FAQs (Updated as of:  May 13, 2014)


  1. What does a Limited Purpose credential require?

The acceptable and required documents for receiving a Limited Purpose credential are available, in summary form, on our website.


  1. How is a Limited Purpose credential different from DC DMV’s current credential? 

A Limited Purpose credential, which will be issued to those DC residences which have never been issued a social security number, have been previously issued a social security number but is now ineligible to receive one or is not eligible to be issued a social security number, will be marked “not valid for official federal purposes”.  Other than these requirements, it will look like our current DC DMV credential. 

  1. What does the “not valid for official federal purposes” marking mean?

This means you will not be able to use the Limited Purpose credential to enter federal facilities, enter a nuclear plant or board an airplane.  Additionally, other entities may or may not accept the credential for identification purposes.

  1. So does the “not valid for official federal purposes” marking mean I’m an undocumented resident?

No.  A US citizen who has never been issued a social security number is also eligible to obtain a Limited Purpose credential.

  1. When will the District of Columbia begin issuing Limited Purpose credentials? 

May 1, 2014 

  1. Why is DC DMV making this change?

We are complying with the requirements of the Driver’s Safety Amendment Act of 2013.

  1. If I am an undocumented resident, what impact will my obtaining a Limited Purpose credential have on my life?

The Driver’s Safety Amendment Act prohibits the use of Limited Purpose credentials for consideration of an individual’s citizenship or immigration status or as a basis for a criminal investigation, arrest or detention.

  1. Will I be able to visit any DC DMV service center to obtain a Limited Purpose credential?

In order to manage the customer volume and ensure you have met all the requirements for obtaining a Limited Purpose credential, you will only be able to visit one of DC DMV’s service centers by scheduling an appointment.  You will not be able to “walk-in” to obtain this credential.  However, appointments will be available at all of our DC DMV service center locations.

  1. Once I obtain a Limited Purpose credential, will I be able to renew or replace it or change my address using DC DMV’s online or by mail services?


  1. Are other states issuing credentials similar to DC’s Limited Purpose credentials?

Yes, there are approximately nine jurisdictions who issue some type of credential similar to DC’s Limited Purpose credential.  

  1. What will be the expiration period for a Limited Purpose credential?

Similar to our current credentials, a Limited Purpose credential will be valid for up to eight years with the expiration date coinciding with your birth date.

  1. How much more does the Limited Purpose credential cost?

The fees for Limited Purpose credentials are currently the same as our current credentials. 


NOTE:  If you have a Limited Purpose credential related question which is not covered by these FAQs or on other areas of our website, please email us at dmv.dc.gov.


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