What REAL ID does for you in North Carolina
If you’ve been thinking about getting a REAL ID but don’t relish a long wait in line, the DMV might have the answer for you.
The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles is offering what it calls REAL ID Express Days where DMV offices are devoted to processing REAL IDs and other simple transactions. The first in the Triangle area will take place this Saturday, March 23, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Avent Ferry Road office in Raleigh.
The DMV has held three REAL ID Express Days so far, in Fayetteville, Jacksonville and Charlotte, and says wait times are much shorter than on a normal day. In Charlotte, for example, the DMV says there were no lines and most customers were done in 10 minutes.
That’s in part because DMV business that usually takes longer, such as knowledge and driving tests and those involving non-U.S. citizens, won’t be done during an express day. In addition to REAL IDs, the offices will renew or issue duplicates of traditional licenses and IDs those days as well.
A REAL ID is a driver’s license or state-issued ID card that meets federal standards for verifying a person’s identification. Congress created the REAL ID program in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Starting Oct. 1, 2020, people will need a REAL ID or a passport to board a domestic commercial flight or to visit a military base or federal facility where an ID is required (some military bases already have this requirement).
North Carolina drivers can renew their driver’s license online, but a REAL ID, whether new or as a renewal, must be done in person at a DMV office. The DMV now thinks about 2 million North Carolinians will eventually want a REAL ID (it once expected as many as 4 million would), and the agency has issued more than 1.15 million since they became available in May 2017.
Demand for the new IDs helped swell the lines at DMV offices last summer, a typically busy time of year for new driver’s licenses. Since then, the agency has taken steps to reduce wait times, including hiring additional driver’s license examiners and having someone check with customers when they arrive to make sure they have the documents they need.
REAL IDs require more documents than traditional licenses. They include:
▪ Proof of identity and date of birth, such as a certified birth certificate or an unexpired U.S. passport.
▪ Proof of a full Social Security number, such as a Social Security card, a W-2 form or a 1099 tax form.
▪ Two documents that show current address, including a driver’s license, vehicle registration card, voter registration card, utility or cable bill or a bank statement.
▪ If your name is different from the one on your birth certificate or passport, you’ll need additional documents to show that it has changed. These can include a certified marriage license, a divorce decree or court documents indicating the name change.
For more information, including a fuller list of qualifying documents, go to NCREALID.gov.
There will be another REAL ID Express Day on April 13 at the same office, at 3231 Avent Ferry Road. Other planned express days include March 30 at North Main Crossing, 801A North Main St. in Kernersville; April 27 at the East Greensboro office, 2527 East Market St., and May 4 in the Hendersonville office, 125 Baystone Dr.
All of these offices are normally closed on Saturdays. The hours on the express days will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There will also be a mobile DMV office at the Got to Be NC Festival at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh on May 17, 18 and 19.