NC urging people to get new Real ID ahead of 2020 deadline

NC urging people to get new Real ID ahead of 2020 deadline
A North Carolina REAL ID looks like a standard driver’s license or ID card, except for the gold star in the upper right-hand corner. (Credit: NCDMV)

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) - North Carolina is beginning a push to get more drivers to apply for Real ID, which is an upgraded federal requirement to driver's licenses that goes into effect by 2020.

Although that deadline is still two years away, the NC DMV is trying to get more people to apply for it now before it gets too close to the deadline.

The Real ID looks like a regular driver's license with one crucial exception. On the upper right corner is a star symbol in a circle that looks like the logo on Captain America's shield.

That symbol means it's a federally approved ID accepted anywhere.

Dave Holm got his Real ID at the DMV's Avent Ferry Office in Raleigh when he came to renew his license.

"I saw you need to get it to get on airplanes by 2020, so I figured I would do it today,'' he said.

Holm is one of an estimated 450,000 North Carolinians who've gotten their real ID early, but the state said another four million people still need the ID by the deadline.

"If you think the lines and wait the DMV are long now, they're going to increase because by 2020 the requirements will be in place," said DMV spokeswoman Patrice Bethea.

And if everyone waits until the last minute, the DMV said they'll overload the system.

It took Holm about 15 minutes to complete the process after gathering up the necessary documents you need to get Real ID, which he thinks will prove useful.

"If it helps make things safer on airlines, I'm in favor of that," he said. Holm is also an attorney. He said he'll need Real ID to enter federal courthouses now.

Real ID was conceived after 9/11 as a way to prove people's identity and place of residence. It requires specific documents for the application.

"Bring your certified birth certificate, or passport if you have one, and those two documents will prove your identity along with a social security card or W-2,'' Bethea said. "You will also need two documents with your current address."

Opting out of the Real ID will make it harder to prove one's identity. The issued driver's license will be printed with a warning that indicates it cannot be used as a federal ID.

"That'll be an immediate clue to any federal entity that you'll need to provide additional documentation to prove who you are to get access to those locations," Bethea said.

It takes 15 to 20 days for the Real ID to be mailed.