Real ID: What is it, and Do You Need to Get it?


You may have heard in the news recently that Real IDs are soon going to be required for various activities. If you have found yourself wondering what exactly a Real ID is, read below for some useful information on what they are, and how having one might benefit you.

The Real ID Act is a federal law that was passed by Congress in 2005 to increase security measures for state-issued identification cards, such as driver's licenses. Beginning May 7th, 2025, US travelers will need a Real ID compliant driver's license or other REAL ID approved documentation to board domestic flights and access certain federal facilities.

To obtain a Real ID driver’s license in North Carolina, residents must provide documentation that verifies their identity, Social Security number, and residency. Acceptable forms of identification include a passport or a birth certificate, as well as a Social Security card or W-2 form. Proof of residency can be established through a lease agreement, utility bill, or other official document.

North Carolina residents who do not wish to obtain a Real ID can still use their standard driver's license for other purposes, such as driving or voting. However, they will not be able to use their standard driver's license to board domestic flights or enter certain federal facilities.

It's important to note that obtaining a Real ID compliant driver's license (or another REAL ID approved document) is not mandatory, but it is highly recommended. Without a Real ID, North Carolina residents may face significant travel disruptions and inconvenience, as they will not be able to board domestic flights without additional identification.

To apply for a Real ID in North Carolina, residents can visit their local DMV office and provide the necessary documentation. The cost for a Real ID is the same as a standard driver's license renewal, but residents should be prepared to wait in line and provide the necessary documentation (listed above).

For more information on Real ID, visit the real id web page.