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N.C. Real ID


Beginning in October 2020, all federal agencies will require “Real ID Act” compliant forms of identification. To put it most simply, your North Carolina driver’s license will need to have a star in the top right corner. Below are some of the most common questions we’ve received regarding this change in identification law.

IS MY DRIVER’S LICENSE STILL VALID IF I DON’T GET A REAL ID BEFORE OCT. 2020?

Yes. Your valid North Carolina driver’s license is still valid without the yellow star indicating Real ID Act compliance. You do not need a Real ID to drive in the state of North Carolina. Your regular valid driver’s license will do just fine.

DO I HAVE TO GET REAL ID?

No. Compliance with the Real ID Act is completely voluntary. However, if you intend to fly on commercial airlines, visit a military base, or go to certain federal facilities (like federal courthouses or federal prisons, for example) a Real ID will likely be necessary.

CAN I STILL VOTE WITHOUT A REAL ID?

Yes. The Real ID Act does not impact voting right in North Carolina.

CAN I STILL RECEIVE FEDERAL BENEFITS LIKE SOCIAL SECURITY?

Yes. Your non-Real ID ACT compliant (i.e. old-style) driver’s license will still serve as an appropriate form of identification when applying for federal benefits through federal agencies such as the Social Security Administration or the Veteran’s Affairs’ Office.

CAN I APPLY FOR MY REAL IDEA ONLINE?

No. You must appear in person with the required documentation at your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office in order to obtain your Real ID. You cannot apply for a Real ID online.

WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED TO GET MY REAL ID?

You will need ALL of the following:

One (1) document proving identity and date of birth (such as your birth certificate or a valid passport with your full name)

One (1) document proving your social security number (such as your original social security card or a W2 or 1099 tax form with your full social security number)

Two (2) documents with your current physical address proving North Carolina residency (such as a vehicle registration card, voter precinct card, utility bill, rental lease or mortgage statement).

NON-US CITIZENS will require all of the above listed documents AND

One (1) document proving legal status or lawful presence (such as a valid permanent resident card, a valid employment authorization document or a certificate of naturalization or citizenship)

For more information visit the Department of Motor Vehicles website.