North Carolina REAL ID Driver Licenses and ID Cards: What You Need to Know

Beginning on October 1, 2020, the TSA and other agencies will require a REAL ID for commercial air travel and access to federal buildings

North Carolina REAL ID Driver Licenses and ID Cards: What You Need to Know
Image: NCDOT
April 13, 2018

On May 1, 2017, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV) began producing the state's first REAL ID, an optional driver license or identification card that meets the security requirements of the federal REAL ID Act.

Who Should get a REAL ID?

Frequent air travelers and visitors to military installations and federal facilities may want to consider applying for an NC REAL ID. Beginning on October 1, 2020, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and other agencies will require a REAL ID for commercial air travel and access to federal buildings, military installations, and nuclear facilities.

Persons without a REAL ID will still be able to board flights and enter federal facilities, but they will need to provide additional identification along with their standard driver license. For more information about required documentation, contact the TSA or other relevant federal agency.

"The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles has worked extremely hard to prepare our state to meet this new federal requirement," said NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Chief Deputy Secretary David Howard. "We are glad to offer this optional, single ID to help our citizens travel and access federal facilities."

Requirements for Getting a REAL ID

Residents must visit a DMV driver license office to apply for their first NC REAL ID. All applicants must provide:

  • One document that proves identity, such as a birth certificate, valid U.S. passport, or immigration documents;
  • One document that verifies birth, such as a birth certificate, valid U.S. passport or immigration documents;
  • One document that confirms their Social Security number, such as a Social Security card or W-2 form;
  • Two documents that establish residency in North Carolina, such as a utility bill, vehicle registration card, or bank statement.

Real ID Features and Cost

The NC REAL ID driver license and ID card has a gold star in the top right corner to indicate that the identity and residency documents for the individual are permanently stored with DMV. Citizens who prefer to keep their current license or ID will receive credentials that carry the notation Not for Federal Identification.

North Carolina's REAL ID is available at the same cost as a standard driver license and identification card. An NC REAL ID can be obtained at the time of driver license renewal or before the renewal period for the cost of a duplicate license.

The REAL ID Act

The new identification standards were established by the federal REAL ID Act, which was passed in 2005 following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Act is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Get More Info

For more information about North Carolina's REAL ID—including a full list of documents that are acceptable proofs of identity and residency—visit the NC REAL ID website.