“Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, 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.”
So reads the NCDMV website. As the date approaches, local DMV officials are encouraging drivers to come in for the brief process now, rather than putting it off until the deadline. According to the site, “The cost is the same as getting any other license or ID for the first time, and the process is similar.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the differences between the REAL ID and a regular ID card or license, they are enumerated on the site. In short, however, the REAL ID is mostly useful for people who frequent federal facilities or fly on commercial airlines (although other documentation can be presented instead). The DMV site describes the distinction: “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.’”
Your first REAL ID can’t be issued online, so you’ll need to visit your local DMV office with documents in hand in order to obtain one. A DMV employee at the Boone office explained “We’ve been issuing REAL ID’s for a couple of years now. It’s important that you read the website carefully and bring all the documents you need.”
Visit https://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/license-id/nc-real-id/Pages/default.aspx for a list of the documentation required to get a REAL ID.