Does this make you happy? The DMV approves all smiles

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — For Virginians who aren’t satisfied with their driver’s license or identification card photographs with neutral expressions, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles announced Monday that customers can once again smile for the camera. Technology has advanced to allow customers the option of grinning, or not, in their photos.

“We heard loud and clear from customers that they prefer posing with smiles,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb. “We work hard to provide customers with services that make their lives easier – more than 40 convenient online transactions, access to vital records, hunting and fishing licenses, and E-ZPass through DMV, as well as mobile DMV 2 Go customer service throughout Virginia. There are a lot of reasons to smile about DMV. We want to capture those smiles on your cards.”

In 2009, DMV adopted a neutral expression policy in preparation for the potential future use of image verification software. At the time, this type of identity theft deterrent software worked best when comparing similar images. When getting their photos taken for licenses or ID cards, customers were given the opportunity to smile slightly without showing teeth. Since then, the technology has advanced so that neutral expressions are no longer necessary. DMV is not currently using such software.

Virginia’s driver’s licenses and identification cards are among the most secure in the nation. Virginia credentials are produced in a secure facility and incorporate security printing, polycarbonate card construction, and laser-engraved data and photos, among other features.

Customers who would like a new photo should take their unexpired driver’s license or ID card to any DMV customer service center or DMV 2 Go mobile office, and submit a completed application. The cost of a replacement driver’s license is $20; a replacement ID card is $10.

For office locations or scheduled DMV 2 Go stops, visit

Comments are closed.