By Joe Johnson
North Carolina is one of many states that will begin enforcing federally established REAL ID requirements beginning October 1, 2020. According to the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, “In response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005 to establish minimum-security standards for state-issued driver licenses and IDs to help prevent fraudulent identification.” The N.C. REAL ID is identical to the license or identification normally issued by the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, however the N.C. REAL ID has a yellow star located in the top right corner of the ID. Regular N.C. ID cards issued beginning October 1, 2020 will include the words “NOT FOR FEDERAL IDENTIFICATION”.
The N.C. REAL ID will allow N.C. citizens streamlined access to federal buildings, military installations, nuclear sites, and through TSA security checkpoints for commercial flights. The N.C. REAL ID is not a mandatory form of identification for N.C. citizens nor will the N.C. REAL ID be required for access to any of these establishments or processes. However, without the N.C. REAL ID, an N.C. citizen must contact the TSA or corresponding federal, military, or nuclear facility to inquire about the additional identification required for access to their establishments.
The N.C. REAL ID endorsement requires no extra fee to obtain. If the N.C. REAL ID applicant does not have prior N.C. identification, the cost for the REAL ID is the same as a standard N.C. driver license or ID card ($13). If the N.C. REAL ID is obtained within six months of expiration the cost of the ID is the same as a renewal ($5). If the N.C. REAL ID is obtained after the renewal period has passed, the cost is the same as a duplicate ($13).
Any N.C. citizen can change their driver license or identification card to an N.C. REAL ID at any time by visiting their local NCDMV office and bringing the required documentation. The required documentation for an N.C. REAL ID endorsement includes one document proving your identity, date of birth, and legal presence/lawful status, one document providing your full Social Security number, two documents providing your current N.C. Address, and if applicable, one document with a proof of name change. For further information on N.C. REAL ID documentation requirements, visit the following link: https://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/license-id/nc-real-id/Documents/real-id-brochure.pdf