CHARLESTON, WV — The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles will begin issuing driver’s licenses and identification cards with a new look and design that matches the state’s tourism branding.
Gov. Jim Justice said in a press conference that the move to feature the iconic landmark near Fayetteville, West Virginia, is designed to further market West Virginia.
"This new design reflects the immeasurable pride we have in our state's beauty. The New River Gorge Bridge is one of our most popular attractions. It is the centerpiece of our nation’s newest national park and draws people from all over the world," Justice said.
"By featuring it on our driver's license, we want to inspire more people to come and experience the majesty of West Virginia firsthand. It lets us continue to show the world why Almost Heaven is a must-see destination and maybe even a future home."
The new design features a background of West Virginia's historic New River Gorge Bridge in the nation’s newest National Park, the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, and uses the official state branding.
The "Almost Heaven" tourism mark is also included on the back of each card.
The Almost Heaven brand, introduced by Justice in 2018, has been adopted widely and can now be seen on all tourism advertising, welcome centers, signage, turnpike booths, and throughout the state parks system.
"We've seen huge success with promoting the Almost Heaven West Virginia brand across the country and around the world,” Secretary of Tourism Chelsea Ruby said. “Adding that branding to our driver licenses is another opportunity to promote our great state. I want to thank Governor Justice for his vision for expanding tourism, with exceptional results. I also appreciate the team at our DMV for their collaboration on this exciting project."
West Virginians may apply for a duplicate license or ID card with the new design before their renewal period by visiting the DMV website at dmv.wv.gov or at any of the 25 regional DMV offices across the state.
"Our DMV is leading the nation when it comes to the issuance and security of our state driver's licenses and ID cards,” Commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles Everett Frazier said. “This new credential contains state-of-the-art security features to reduce fraud and identity theft. We encourage West Virginians to consider upgrading to a REAL ID license or ID card and take advantage of not only the beautiful background featuring our New River Gorge Bridge, but also the newest and best in security for credentials."
For more information and to take advantage of renewing a driver's license online, visit the DMV website at dmv.wv.gov, and go to the Online Services Portal. You may also take advantage of the REAL ID HeadStart pre-enrollment program at go.wv.gov/realidheadstart, which allows you to upload your documentation before going to a regional office.
The introduction of the new licenses follows several years of record-breaking tourism growth in West Virginia and a year in which the state was labeled a must-see tourism destination by publications such as Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast, Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, TIME, CNN, and USA Today.