The Real Pain of REAL ID

The Real Pain of REAL ID 1

As the first month of 2020 comes to an end, you may be thinking about everything that happened in 2019. Perhaps you are imagining all the promise that the New Year has in store. Or you may be thinking of the resolutions you’ve been trying to make. 

Well, we have one for you: Make a plan to get a REAL ID – if you need one. We have some answers for you about this program, which is about to make your vacation plans a bit more difficult.

What is a REAL ID? 

A REAL ID is a driver’s license or a state ID card that fits the federal requirements for identification.  

Why Do I Need a REAL ID?  

Maybe you don’t need one.  If you want to board an airplane or visit a military base or federal building after October 1, 2020, you will need a REAL ID or a valid Passport.

Otherwise, you will be asked to provide additional identification along with your standard driver’s license. Sometimes you can complete an identity verification process, if you forget your ID even now.

If you don’t have a passport and won’t need one for international travel, a REAL ID is a low-cost and convenient way to fly or enter secure government buildings.

Why Isn’t a Driver’s License Enough? 

After the attacks of 9/11, the federal government decided that more was necessary to be able to increase security in government buildings, in our nation’s airports, and in the air.

How Do I Get a REAL ID in North Carolina? 

You must go to a driver’s license office and apply. You cannot apply online. You can find the information on where the nearest N.C. Department of Motor Vehicle office is here.  

The best plan is to make an appointment. As of this fall, many offices in bigger cities only had appointments available after a long wait. You may be able to visit a mobile DMV office, or use Saturday or extended hours to get an ID.

Some REAL ID express days have taken place around the state. The express process only took applicants 10 minutes!

You must have the proper documents with you in order to apply for a REAL ID.

You need one document that proves your identity and your legal status or date of birth, one that proves your full social security number, and two the prove your address.  And you may need to prove your name change. Acceptable documents include:  

  • Proof of your identity and date of birth.  You can use a certified birth certificate or an unexpired U.S. passport. You cannot use a copy unless it is certified.
  • Proof of your Social Security number, such as a Social Security card, a W-2 form, or a 1099 tax form.
  • Two documents that show your current address, including a driver’s license, vehicle registration card, voter registration card, utility or cable bill or a bank statement.
  • If your name has changed since the one shown on your birth certificate or passport, you’ll need additional documents.  You may need to show other documents, such as a certified marriage license, a divorce decree, or court documents indicating the name change.

Minors Have Special Requirements

They may be able to use N.C. school records, tax returns listing them as a dependent, or bank records to show their address. If a child under the age of 18 is traveling with an adult within the U.S., the minor will not need a REAL ID.  

What Does a REAL ID look like?  

A REAL ID looks like a normal driver’s license — except it has a yellow star in the top right corner. Regular licenses are marked “not for federal identification.”

How Much Does a REAL ID Cost? 

Just the same as a standard driver’s license. Or if it is in place of your driver’s license, the same as a duplicate license – $13.  

Fast forward to October 2020. Imagine that you are turned away from the flight to make your cruise or you miss your cousin’s wedding. Make your plan to get a North Carolina REAL ID by calling (919) 715-7000 as soon as possible to make an appointment.  

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