More than 100,000 North Carolinians have opted to get a new form of identification from the state Division of Motor Vehicles that will make it easier to board airplanes and visit federal facilities when new stricter ID requirements go into effect in three years.
The so-called REAL ID looks and works like a driver’s license but has a gold star in the upper right-hand corner. The star indicates that you’ve met the identification standards spelled out in the federal REAL ID Act, which was passed by Congress in 2005 in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The federal government will begin requiring REAL ID for commercial air travel and access to federal buildings and military bases on Oct. 1, 2020. Those without a state-issued REAL ID would still be able to board a plane with a standard driver's license and one form of identification spelled out in the federal law, such as a passport.
The state DMV began offering the option of a REAL ID on May 1. Since then, more than 106,000 have been issued; that’s only about 14 percent of all licenses and identification cards issued by the DMV during that time, but it has exceeded expectations.
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“We are glad North Carolinians are getting ahead of the deadline,” DMV Commissioner Torre J. Jessup said in a statement Tuesday. “Traveling by air will be much easier with a REAL ID when the Transportation Security Administration begins enforcing tougher identification requirements at the airport on Oct. 1, 2020.”
To get a REAL ID, an applicant must provide documents that show who they are, where they were born, where they live and that they have a Social Security number. The documents that meet the requirements include a birth certificate, a valid U.S. passport or immigration documents, and a Social Security card or W-2 form, copies of which will remain on file at DMV.
The REAL ID costs the same as a standard driver's license or identification card. It can be obtained at the time of renewal or before the renewal period for the cost of a duplicate.
More information on North Carolina's REAL ID is available at NCREALID.com.