RD603 - Identification Card without a Photograph Study 2018 Draft Report -- September 2018

  • Published: 2018
  • Author: Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Enabling Authority: Request of House and Senate Committees on Transportation (2018)

Executive Summary:

During the 2018 General Assembly session, members considered whether to pass legislation creating a new Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) identification card (ID card). Patroned by Delegate Wilt, HB 1149 created a DMV-issued ID card without a photograph for applicants with a sincerely held religious belief prohibiting the taking of a photograph.(*1) Due to concerns about the cost of creating a new credential and uncertainty as to the application process, the House Transportation Committee decided to pass the bill by indefinitely, while DMV studied the proposal.

On April 13, 2018, DMV received a letter from Delegate David E. Yancey, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee charging DMV to study how to create an ID card without a photograph while maintaining the Commonwealth’s current level of credential security. Further, the letter stated that the study should research how other states issued similar credentials, identify the population that might apply for an ID card without a photograph, design the application process, and determine the fiscal impact of producing such a credential. To do this, DMV was to convene appropriate stakeholders to review DMV’s research and make recommendations about how to move forward.

DMV held two stakeholder meetings, with the first taking place on June 21, 2018, and the second on July 18, 2018. At the June meeting, DMV staff met with stakeholders from interested religious communities to discuss why they needed an ID card without a photograph and what a feasible application process might look like. At the July meeting, DMV staff presented an overview of other states’ processes and proposed an application process for a Virginia-issued ID card without a photograph based upon feedback from the first stakeholder meeting. Stakeholders representing interested religious communities, law enforcement, the Virginia Department of Agriculture, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Association of the Clerks of Court and the banking industry attended. The stakeholders discussed the proposed credential process, the costs associated with producing an ID card without a photograph, and potential acceptance of the credential. A majority of the stakeholders interested in applying for an ID card without a photograph expressed their support for the credential and the application process proposed at the meeting. Stakeholders who might be asked to accept these credentials indicated that a Virginia-issued ID card without a photograph would likely be acceptable for a number of purposes, though some limitations would apply.

This report includes: 1) the research presented to the stakeholders for their consideration, 2) the proposed ID card without a photograph application process, 3) the fiscal implications of producing an ID card without a photograph, and 4) an overview of the utility and limitations of an ID card without a photograph. Also included in this report is draft legislation authorizing DMV to issue an ID card without a photograph in a manner consistent with stakeholders’ recommendations. Finally, the Appendices include letters and comments submitted by stakeholders concerning the process and recommended outcome.
(*1) Appendix B, page 25