Close Menu



​What Is N.C. REAL ID?

Real Id License Card
N.C. REAL ID driver licenses and IDs carry a star in the top right corner.
Standard Id Card
Without a star, licenses and IDs now carry the stamp "Not for Federal Purposes."

Beginning May 7, 2025, 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.​

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 star are noted "Not for Federal Purposes."

N.C. REAL ID Is Completely Optional

You do not need a REAL ID driver license or identification card to do any of the following:

  • Drive
  • Vote
  • Apply for or receive federal benefits (e.g., Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, etc.)
  • Enter a federal facility that does not require an ID (e.g., a post office)
  • Access a hospital or receive life-saving services
  • Participate in law enforcement proceedings or investigations (e.g., serve on a federal jury, testify in federal court, etc.)

A REAL ID, however, might be helpful for anyone who frequently:

  • Boards a commercial airplane
  • Visits nuclear sites
  • Visits military bases
  • Visits federal courthouses, federal prisons or other federal facilities

An individual without a REAL ID or U.S. passport may still be able to board flights or make visits to the facilities mentioned above, but they may have to provide additional documentation with their traditional license or ID.  ​

Getting an N.C. REAL ID

Even though the federal law is not effective until May 7, 2025, anyone can get a REAL ID now.

To do so, visit an N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles driver license office with the required acceptable documentation:​

​N.C. REAL ID Driver License​​
​N.C. REAL ID Identification Card
One document (with full name) proving identity and date of birth
One document (with full name and full Social Security Number) confirming Social Security number
Two documents (with current physical address) proving North Carolina residency​ ​X
One document proving liability insurance coverage from a provider licensed to do business in North Carolina (not required for a learner's permit)​
​If applicable, one or more documents verifying any name change
​For non-U.S. citizens, one document (with full name) proving legal presence/lawful status

Be Prepared for Your Office Visit

​Heading to the NCDMV for your N.C. REAL ID? Use the N.C. REAL ID Document Wizard to create a list of documents you will need for your visit. Go to the N.C. REAL ID Wizard​​​​

Other Details to Know​​

  • ​​

    ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Make an Appointment​

    Skip the line at driver license offices by making an appointment online. If you do not find an available appointment, please continue to check back as new available appointments are added each day.

    Please note: When making your driver license office appointment, select Duplicate License, unless you are renewing your license. In either case, make sure you tell the examiner you want to​ make your license or ID a REAL ID when you check in.
    Your first N.C. REAL ID cannot be obtained online. It can only be issued at a​​ ​driver license office, where required documents will be scanned and permanently stored, as required under federal law, in your NCDMV record.
  • Getting a​n N.C. REAL ID driver license or ID card costs the same as getting any other license or ID for the first time, and the process is similar.
  • If you get an​ N.C. REAL ID outside of the renewal period, the cost is same as a duplicate license or ID card. You will have to take a new photo, but no tests are required.
  • The cost is the same as a renewal, if the REAL ID is obtained within six months of expiration. You will have to take a vision test and take a new photo.
  • Applying for a North Carolina driver license or ID card will cancel any licenses or ID cards from other states through the State-to-State Verification program.​

6/30/2024 6:30 PM

Back to top