DMV unveils new look licenses and IDs

The new designs feature callbacks to Virginia’s nature and architecture as well as enhanced security features


Standard cards are horizontal; under 21 cards will remain vertical.

Photo courtesy Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles

The DMV unveiled a new design for driver’s licenses and state identification cards. As of Monday, April 24, newly issued cards will have the updated design.

The last major update to license and ID cards came in 2009, when the DMV introduced laser-engraved polycarbonate cards designed to enhance security. Those cards also made the switch from color photos to black and white, and added the smaller, second photo of the ID holder. Both of those features remain on the new cards.

The new design swaps the imagery of the exterior of the Virginia Capitol for an illustration of the rotunda dome inside the building. Two state emblems are also hidden in the design — Virginia’s official insect, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly, and the American Dogwood, the official flower.

Bonus: Think you’re an emblem expert? Test your knowledge with our quiz.


Can you spot the butterfly on the new state IDs?

Photo by Derek Ramsey

Other changes were made to increase security and prevent counterfeiting.

Don’t worry about rushing to get the new card, through — your old ID will remain valid until it expires. When you apply for a new license or ID, it will have the new design.

Reminder: Beginning May 7, 2025, you’ll need a REAL ID in order to board a domestic flight.

What do you think of the new design? Let us know your thoughts or send us your questions and we’ll try to get them answered.