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No. N.C. REAL ID licenses and ID cards are completely optional.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2021, however, having an N.C. REAL ID can make it more convenient if you frequently fly or visit military bases, nuclear sites, federal prisons, federal courthouses or other federal facilities.

If you don’t want or have an N.C. REAL ID, don’t worry. You will still be able to fly and visit these facilities. You will just need to provide additional identification, along with your standard license or ID.
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No. You will still be able to drive, vote, go to the post office and do anything else you normally do. 

N.C. REAL ID isn’t mandatory but will make it more convenient when you board commercial flights, or visit military bases, nuclear sites, federal prisons, federal courthouses or other federal facilities.

If you don’t have an N.C. REAL ID, you’ll still be able to fly and visit these facilities. You will just need to provide additional identification, along with your standard ID.​​​​
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No. When you first get an N.C. REAL ID driver license or ID card, you must go to an NCDMV driver license office​ with the required documents so they can be scanned and added to your NCDMV record.

Once you get an N.C. REAL ID driver license or ID card, you will be able to renew it online, just like a standard license and ID card.​​​
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​Nothing until Oct. 1, 2021.  That’s when federal agencies begin enforcing tougher security standards.

Then, you will need to provide additional identification along with your standard license or ID to board flights or to get into federal installations, nuclear power plants and military bases.
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​The following list is an example of federal facilities and installations in North Carolina that eventually will require an N.C. REAL ID driver license or ID card (or standard driver license or ID card and another federally accepted document) for admittance:
  • Federal Correctional Complex in Butner
  • Military bases
  • Federal courthouses
  • Nuclear power plants
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There is no added fee for an N.C. REAL ID license or ID card. The cost is the same as a standard driver license or ID card. The cost is the same as a renewal if you get a REAL ID within six months of expiration. If you get it outside the renewal period, the same as a duplicate ($13).
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N.C. REAL ID driver licenses and ID cards look identical to standard North Carolina licenses and IDs except that they have a star in the upper right corner that indicates the card meets federal REAL ID standards.

Standard licenses and ID cards are marked "Not for Federal Identification."
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If your name has changed and does not match the name on your certified birth certificate, passport or other identifying information, you must provide a proof of name change, such as:
  • A certified marriage certificate or marriage license
  • A divorce decree
  • A certified document from the courts or Register of Deeds
  • An original international marriage license or a certified copy of an international marriage license (with a raised seal or ink stamp with initials of individual certifying the document) accompanied by a Name Change Affidavit
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No, driving records are maintained by the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles and are not shared.

North Carolina, like each state, issues its own unique license, maintains its own records and controls access to those records. The federal government requires that identifying information for REAL ID-compliant cards be scanned into the applicant's NCDMV record.

N.C. REAL ID adds an extra level of security to a driver license and ID card by making these documents more consistent and secure.
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The Transportation Security Administration does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with an adult companion within the United States. The companion, however, will need acceptable identification.
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No, but foreign citizens must have a passport recognized by the U.S. government to enter North Carolina.
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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.

On Oct. 1, 2021, the Transportation Security Administration will begin enforcing REAL ID requirements at airport security checkpoints. Federal agencies will begin requiring REAL ID-compliant licenses and IDs for admission to a variety of federal facilities.

Standards for licenses and ID cards that comply with the REAL ID Act were established by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
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​Because of concerns across the nation for the need to safeguard the production, manufacturing and issuance of driver licenses, the N.C. General Assembly enacted a law in July 2006 requiring the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles to issue driver licenses, learner permits and IDs from a central location instead of from driver license offices across the state.
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A Temporary Driving Certificate contains the same demographic information (e.g., name and address) as a driver license.
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If you have not received your driver license before the Temporary Driving Certificate expires, call the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicle customer service at (919) 715-7000 or (919) 861-3555.
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Yes, but you can still use your old license as a photo ID until your new license arrives.
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If you received the Temporary Driving Certificate when you renewed your license, you will need the certificate as well as unexpired state-issued photo identification to register a vehicle.
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You must self-certify to a single type of commercial operation on your driver license application form when you:

  • Apply for a commercial driver license

  • Renew a commercial driver license

  • Apply for a higher class of commercial driver license

  • Apply for a new endorsement on a commercial driver license

  • Transfer a commercial driver license from another State

Based on the self-certification, you may need to provide the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles with a current U.S. Department of Transportation medical examiner's certificate and show any variance/waiver or skills performance evaluation you may have to obtain or keep your commercial driver license.

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​A variance/waiver may be granted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for certain commercial driver license operators with vision or diabetes issues.

A skills performance evaluation, or SPE, may be required for commercial driver license operators who have a loss of limb before a variance/waiver may be granted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

A waiver may be granted by the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicle's Medical Review Program for certain operators who cannot meet the federal medical certification requirements.
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Yes. Until the program is fully implemented you will still have to carry an original or copy of the DOT medical examiner's certificate and provide a copy to your employer for your driver qualification file.
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​You must have a new medical examination and obtain a new DOT medical examiner's certificate. You must then provide NCDMV the new DOT medical examiner's certificate. You are also responsible for applying for a renewal of your variance/waiver if required.
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​NCDMV will notify you that you are no longer medically certified to operate a commercial motor vehicle in non-excepted interstate/non-excepted intrastate commerce. You will have 30 days to respond, or your entire North Carolina driving privileges will be canceled.
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If the federal Department of Transportation medical examiner's certificate has expired, you must obtain a new one and provide it to NCDMV. If the variance has expired, you must renew it with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. NCDMV may require retesting and additional fees to restore your commercial driver license privileges.
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In some situations, a limited driving permit may be allowed during the suspension period. To determine if your suspension or revocation allows limited privileges based on statute, please review the limited driving privilege statute.
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A "Failure to Appear" suspension occurs when a driver fails to appear in court and does not comply with a citation under G.S. 20-24.1. A "Failure to Pay" suspension occurs when a driver fails to pay fines for a citation under G.S. 20-24.2.
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​If you have failed to appear to court or failed to pay the court, the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles will suspend your driving privileges indefinitely until you have complied with the case.

You will need to contact the court in the county that you received the citation or where you failed to pay your fines.

Upon compliance, contact NCDMV to determine if you are eligible to reinstate your license.
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​If your suspension/revocation requires a substance abuse assessment, visit the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services' website to find a provider in your area to perform the assessment and determine what classes are needed. Upon completion, the provider must submit a 508 Form to the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles.
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If your most recent driver license or ID card was issued in North Carolina, your out-of-state driver license or ID card has been canceled. To get information on your out-of-state license or ID card, you must contact the other state to check the status of that issuance.
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​No. As a part of complying with the federal REAL ID Act, North Carolina is a one-credential state, which means residents can have only one driver license or an ID card in one state.
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​No. State-to-State only verifies non-commercial driver licenses. The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 has required states to verify single driving records for commercial drivers since 1992.
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