Sep 17, 2020 | Blog, General

***Please note that this blog has been edited for December 2022 – as the requirement has been postponed to May 2025***

You may have heard talk about something called “REAL ID.” This blog will go through some frequently asked questions about N.C. REAL ID and will explain how you can be prepared for the changes coming to traveler identification requirements.

These new requirements will start being enforced on May 7, 2025​.

  • How do I know if my ID is an N.C. REAL ID?
    • The N.C. REAL ID is a REAL ID Act-compliant driver license that is just like a traditional license or ID but has a star at the top. Driver licenses and IDs without a gold star are noted “Not for Federal Identification.”
  • Do I need to get an N.C. REAL ID?
    • An N.C. REAL ID (or another federally approved ID, like a U.S. passport) is required for individuals who do the following:
      • Board a commercial airplane
      • Visit nuclear sites
      • Visit military bases
      • Visit federal courthouses, federal prisons or other federal facilities that require ID
    • You do not need an N.C. REAL ID driver license or identification card to drive or vote.
  • I am planning on flying in the future. When do I need to get an N.C. REAL ID?
    • C. REAL ID will start being enforced on May 5th, 2025. Starting on this date, individuals who board a commercial airplane will need to have an N.C. REAL ID or they will have to provide additional identification (such as a U.S. passport) when going through the TSA security checkpoint.
    • Even though the federal law is not effective until May 5th, 2025, anyone can get an N.C. REAL ID now. We recommend that passengers get their N.C. REAL ID as soon as possible to ensure that they will be able to fly when the deadline comes and prevent last-minute congestion at N.C. DMVs.
  • I have a passport. Do I need to get an N.C. REAL ID?
    • Your U.S. passport will work in place of your driver license, but it may still be beneficial to get your N.C. REAL ID just in case you choose to travel domestically without your passport.
  • What do I have to do in order to get my N.C. REAL ID?
    • Visit an N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles driver license office with the required acceptable documentation:
      • One document (with full name) proving identity and date of birth
      • One document (with full name and full Social Security Number) confirming Social Security number
      • Two documents (with current physical address) proving North Carolina residency
      • For non-U.S. citizens, one document (with full name) proving legal presence/lawful status
      • If applicable, one or more documents verifying any name change
      • Click here to view list of acceptable documents for each category.
    • Can I get my N.C. REAL ID online?
      • No, it can only be issued at a driver license office, where required documents will be scanned and permanently stored, as required under federal law, in your NCDMV record.
    • How much does it cost to get an N.C. REAL ID?
      • Getting an N.C. REAL ID driver license or ID card costs the same as getting any other license or ID for the first time, and the process is similar.
      • if the REAL ID is obtained within six months of expiration, the cost is the same as a renewal. You will have to take a vision test and take a new photo.
      • If you get an N.C. REAL ID outside of the renewal period, the cost is $13 – the same as a duplicate license or ID card. You will have to take a new photo, but no tests are required.
    • My N.C. driver license already has a gold star. Is there anything I need to do?
      • No, your license fits the N.C. REAL ID requirements and you are already prepared for when the law comes into effect in October of 2020.
    • Where can I find more information about N.C. REAL ID?
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