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Time ticking on REAL ID implementation in North Carolina

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(Image: North Carolina Department of Transportation)
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The North Carolina REAL ID driver’s license looks much like a regular license, but it includes a star at the top. Having one is optional, but it’s recommended for those who frequently travel by air or visit federal facilities, including courthouses, military bases, and prisons.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is reminding drivers that the implementation of REAL ID enforcement begins in less than six months.

REAL IDs are meant to be an alternative to other federally approved IDs, such as passports.

Implementation of REAL ID enforcement had been delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic and is now set to begin May 3, 2023.

The North Carolina REAL ID driver’s license looks much like a regular license, but it includes a star at the top. Having one is optional, but it’s recommended for those who frequently travel by air or visit federal facilities, including courthouses, military bases, and prisons.

Obtaining the ID can only be done in person at a driver's license office. North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Wayne Goodwin recommends being prepared for that visit.

"It is important to remember that when you make an appointment that you bring all your required documents with you because the driver's license examiner will need to scan those in for permanent storage as required by federal law," he explained.

A full list of documentation required to obtain a REAL ID is available on the NCDMV website. No tests are required, and the cost is the same as renewing your regular license.