A Wilson Times Co. publication · Serving Southern Nash County Since 1947

One year left to meet Real ID deadline

More than 11,000 have been issued in Nash County

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The deadline to fly easier with a Real ID is on final approach.

With the deadline now less than a year away, state officials are encouraging residents to go ahead and get the new driver’s license that meets tougher security standards.

On 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, said state transportation spokeswoman Binta Cisse.

As of Sept. 30 and since May 2017, 11,258 Real IDs have been issued in Nash County, 11,591 in Wilson County and 39,275 in Johnston County.


A Real ID is optional and not a requirement. Depending on someone’s travel habits, a Real ID will make certain activities easier, Cisse said.

But for someone with no plans to fly or enter federal buildings, there’s no need to upgrade a driver’s license or ID card, Cisse said.

Folks without a Real ID will still be able to fly, but they will have to provide additional identification along with a state driver’s license at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints. Minors will not be required to have the new card in order to board airplanes.

“The October 2020 deadline should not be something that incites panic,” Cisse said. “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.”


At the end of the 2019 summer peak season, the DMV had issued about 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 office 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, Cisse said.

“To prepare for the influx of Real ID customers, DMV is rolling out efficiency improvements to all driver license offices,” Cisse said. “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.”

The N.C. Real ID meets criteria established by the 2005 Real ID Act as administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The new card — distinguished by a gold star in the top right corner — meets tougher security requirements for air travel and for easier entry into federal buildings, military installations and nuclear facilities.

The cards cost the same as a standard driver’s license and can be obtained when renewing a license. Anyone who doesn’t receive a Real ID when renewing a license will eventually receive licenses or ID cards carrying the notation “Not for Federal Identification,” said Andrew Barksdale, public relations officer for NCDOT Division 4.


To obtain a new Real ID, residents must fill out an application at a driver’s license office. Real IDs can be issued at the local driver’s license offices in Wilson, Rocky Mount, Smithfield and any other driver’s license office.

• Applicants must provide a certified birth certificate, valid U.S. passport or immigration documents proving identity and date of birth.

An additional document will be required to confirm birth information.

• Verification of Social Security number will be required with a Social Security card, W-2 tax form or payroll record with name and full Social Security number.

• Two documents will be needed to establish North Carolina residency, such as driver’s license, utility or cable bill, vehicle registration card, military documents or bank statement. Minors under 18 can use other forms of address certification including magazine subscriptions, tax records, hunting or fishing licenses, a preprinted bank statement or N.C. school records

• If applicable, residents will need one or more documents verifying name change.

To learn more about the N.C. Real ID, visit www.ncrealid.gov.