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Limited Purpose Credential FAQs

Question 1: What does a Limited Purpose credential require?

The acceptable and required documents for receiving a Limited Purpose credential are available, in summary form, at the link below:

Limited Purpose Credential Required and Acceptable Documents

Question 2: How is a Limited Purpose credential different from DC DMV’s current credential?

A Limited Purpose credential can be issued to those DC residents who have never been issued a Social Security number, who have been previously issued a Social Security number, but are now ineligible for one, or who are not eligible to be issued a Social Security number. The Limited Purpose credential is marked “not valid for official federal purposes.”  Other than this marking, it looks like current DC DMV credential. It differs from the REAL ID federally acceptable credential that DC DMV is issuing to replace the current credential; the REAL ID credential has a star in the corner.

Question 3: 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.

Question 4: 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.

Question 5: When did the District of Columbia begin issuing Limited Purpose credentials?

May 1, 2014

Question 6: Why is DC DMV making this change?

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

Question 7: 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.

Question 8: Will I be able to visit any DC DMV service center to obtain a Limited Purpose credential?

Effective August 2, 2016, you will no longer be required to make an appointment to obtain a Limited Purpose credential. You will be able to visit a DC DMV service center to obtain a Limited Purpose credential. Walk-ins will be accepted Wednesday through Saturday. Tuesdays will remain by appointment only for those seeking a Limited Purpose credential. An appointment is required to take the road skills test, and walk-ins are not accepted. 

If you choose to make an appointment, you can make it online. You may make one appointment; each appointment must be for one person, and each person must have a unique phone number and email address. You cannot use the same number and email for multiple people. You will use your date of birth, or the date of birth of the person for whom the appointment is being made, to verify the identity at the appointment. Whatever date of birth was used to schedule the appointment must match the date of birth shown on the birth certificate or passport at the appointment.

The link below will take you to the online scheduler to make an appointment. A list of locations is available at the link below:

Question 9: 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?


Question 10: Are other states issuing credentials similar to DC DMV’s Limited Purpose credentials?

Yes, there are approximately 11 jurisdictions that issue some type of credential similar to DC DMV’s Limited Purpose credential.

Question 11: What will the expiration period be for a Limited Purpose credential?

A Limited Purpose credential will be valid for up to 8 years, as are current DC DMV credentials. The exact expiration date will be your birth date.

Question 12: How much more does the Limited Purpose credential cost?

The fees for Limited Purpose credentials are currently the same as our current credentials. More information about DC DMV fees is available at the link below:

 Note: If you have a Limited Purpose credential related question that is not covered by these FAQs or on other areas of our website, please email us at [email protected].

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