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Frequently Asked Questions

​Want to know more about N.C. REAL ID and why it's being implemented? Check out answers to some of the most common questions.

Still need help? Send a message to the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles.

Do I have to get an N.C. REAL ID driver license or ID card?

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

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, 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.

Will I need an N.C. REAL ID to drive, vote, go to the post office or do other things I would do with a traditional driver license or ID?

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.

Can I get an N.C. REAL ID when I renew my license online?

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.

What happens if I don't have an N.C. REAL ID and I want to fly domestically or enter a federal facility?

Nothing until Oct. 1, 2020.  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.

What federal facilities in North Carolina will require an N.C. REAL ID for admittance?

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
How much does an N.C. REAL ID cost?

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).

Will an N.C. REAL ID look different from a standard North Carolina driver license and ID?

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."

What if my name does not match my certified birth certificate or other required documentation?

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
Will my scanned birth certificate and other identifying information be shared?

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.

Will minors need an N.C. REAL ID to fly domestically?

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.

Is an N.C. REAL ID required for foreign citizens entering North Carolina?

No, but foreign citizens must have a passport recognized by the U.S. government to enter North Carolina.

Why is the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles issuing N.C. REAL ID driver licenses and ID cards?

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, 2020, 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.

3/21/2019 12:58 PM

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