One year from REAL ID deadline, what you need to know

On Oct. 1, 2020, the REAL ID Act will go into effect in North Carolina and throughout the country. The North Carolina DMV is reminding people to sign up for an ID as soon as possible to avoid long lines at DMV bureaus.

That means in one year, all federal agencies will require a REAL ID, a U.S. passport or another form of federally-approved identification in order to board commercial airlines and enter federal buildings.

There are signs posted throughout the Raleigh-Durham International Airport reminding people of the coming change, in an effort to create a smooth transition next year.

"REAL ID is the new identification you'll be required to have starting October 1st of next year. If you get here and you don't have one, or some other federally-approved document like a valid passport or US military ID, you will be turned away at the checkpoint. You will not be able to board your flight," said Stephanie Hawco, the Director of Media Relations for RDU.

So far, the North Carolina DMV has issued about 1.3 million REAL IDs and expects another 1.8 million more people will need one.

What do you need to get a REAL ID? The Department of Transportation lists several acceptable documents:

You will need all of the following items to obtain your REAL ID:
  • 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
  • If you're a non-U.S. citizen, you'll also need one document (with full name) proving legal presence/lawful status
  • If you have had any name change, you will need one or more documents verifying your name change


Obtaining a REAL ID is optional. The state stresses that if you have no plans to fly on an airplane or enter a federal facility such as a courthouse or military base, there's no need to change your driver's license or ID card.

The DMV has issued around 1.3 million North Carolina REAL IDs. The DMV expects another 1.8 million North Carolinians will want a REAL ID by the deadline. You will be able to get a REAL ID after Oct. 1, 2020 but the state expects longer wait times as the date nears.
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