Tuesday, 01 October 2019 14:31

One year away from the REAL ID deadline

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RALEIGH — Today marks the one-year milestone date that the REAL ID Act will go into effect. Meaning beginning Oct. 1, 2020, federal agencies will require a REAL ID, U.S. passport or another form of federally-approved identification to board commercial airlines and to enter federal buildings.


With the enforcement date approaching, the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles wants North Carolinians to have the key information they need about REAL ID. 

A REAL ID is optional and not a requirement. Depending on one’s unique situation a REAL ID may make certain activities easier, such as flying domestically or entering federal facilities. While a REAL ID could make these actions easier, other approved documentation can be used in the event you do not have a REAL ID. And if you have no plans to fly or enter federal buildings, there is no need to change your current traditional driver license or ID card. 

The October 2020 deadline should not be something that incites panic. While that is the day the REAL ID Act will officially be enforced, it is not the last day someone can get a REAL ID. They will continue to be issued on and after Oct. 1, 2020. If you’re not planning to travel domestically or enter a federal building in the next year you can get a REAL ID later.

At the end of the 2019 summer peak season, DMV had issued approximately 1.3 million N.C. REAL IDs. The division anticipates another 1.8 million North Carolinians will want a REAL ID by the deadline. That expected number means more people heading to their local DMV and potential longer wait times as that October 2020 date draws closer. To ensure a successful trip to the DMV for a REAL ID, planning is important. Confirm you have the proper documentation before you arrive at the DMV. 

To prepare for the influx of REAL ID customers, DMV is rolling out efficiency improvements to all driver license offices. Examiner scorecards are being implemented to show productivity and where process efficiencies can be made. Online appointments and REAL ID days will also be announced later in the fall to help customers better plan their DMV trips. 

To learn more about N.C. REAL ID, visit NCREALID.gov.