Delayed Implementation of Real ID
Editors’ Note: We know a lot of folks in Davidson like to travel – at least in non-pandemic times. Real ID will impact travelers who choose airline travel. The original deadline was October 2020, but that has been pushed back a year. However, we still felt it was worth the reminder for our readers.
Beginning Oct. 1, 2021, federal agencies will enforce the REAL ID Act, which requires a REAL ID, U.S. passport or another federally approved identification to board commercial flights and enter secure federal buildings.
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.”
N.C. REAL ID Is Completely Optional – watch this video if you think you need one.
You do not need a N.C. REAL ID driver license or identification card to do any of the following:
- Apply for or receive federal benefits (e.g., Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, etc.)
- Enter a federal facility that does not require an ID (e.g., a post office)
- Access a hospital or receive life-saving services
- Participate in law enforcement proceedings or investigations (e.g., serve on a federal jury, testify in federal court, etc.)
A N.C. REAL ID, however, might be helpful for anyone who frequently:
- Boards a commercial airplane
- Visits nuclear sites
- Visits military bases
- Visits federal courthouses, federal prisons or other federal facilities
An individual without a N.C. REAL ID or U.S. passport may still be able to board flights or make visits to the facilities mentioned above, but they may have to provide additional documentation with their traditional license or ID.
Getting a N.C. REAL ID
Even though the federal law is not effective until Oct. 1, 2021, anyone can get a N.C. REAL ID now.
To do so, 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
Be Prepared for Your Office Visit
Heading to the NCDMV for your N.C. REAL ID? Use the N.C. REAL ID Document Wizard to create a list of documents you will need for your visit. Go to the N.C. REAL ID Wizard
Other Details to Know
Appointments are required for ALL services that need to be completed in a driver license office.
Your first N.C. REAL ID cannot be obtained online. 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.
- Getting a 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 you get a N.C. REAL ID outside of the renewal period, the cost is same as a duplicate license or ID card. You will have to take a new photo, but no tests are required.
- The cost is the same as a renewal, if the REAL ID is obtained within six months of expiration. You will have to take a vision test and take a new photo.
- Applying for a North Carolina driver license or ID card will cancel any licenses or ID cards from other states through the State-to-State Verification program.