May 29, 2024 - News

Everything you need to know about Real ID in North Carolina

Checkpoint 1 at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Checkpoint 1 at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Domestic flights from Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Raleigh-Durham International Airport and nationwide will require a REAL ID starting May 7, 2025.

Why it matters: This likely means a trip to a North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles location, most of which are slammed. Many don't have availability until Aug. 26, while others currently don't have any availability listed.

How it works: A REAL ID will have a small star in the upper right corner, signifying the individual meets minimum federal security standards, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

  • You must go to the DMV in person and bring documents proving U.S. citizenship, your social security number and North Carolina residency.
  • For proof of identity, bring a passport or U.S. birth certificate. Non-U.S. citizens may bring proof of legal presence.
  • You also need to bring one document with your full name and social security number (typically your social security card).
  • To prove you're a North Carolina resident, bring two documents that include your current physical address, such as your vehicle registration or a bill, such as a utility bill, with your address.
  • Find a full list of acceptable documents here.

Catch up quick: Real ID implementation was delayed due to "the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic." Congress passed the policy in 2005. The goal is to make driver licenses harder to fake.

What they're saying: "The improvements are intended to inhibit terrorists' ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification," Beth Walker, TSA's Federal Security director for Charlotte Douglas International Airport, said in a statement.

Between the lines: If you do not have a REAL ID, you may still board with a passport or other approved forms of identification. Find the full list of acceptable identification here.

  • This also applies to your ability to enter secure federal facilities, like military bases and select federal offices.
  • You won't, however, need a REAL ID to drive or vote.
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