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New type of driver's license available in NC ... why you need one

Changes are coming to airports across the U.S. and it involves your driver's license. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Changes are coming to airports across the U.S. and it involves your driver's license.

By January, all states need to have something called a Real ID available, or have applied for an extension. North Carolina is compliant, according to the Department of Transportation. Since May, you’ve been able to get a Real ID. You’ll need to get a Real ID or getting through airport security or into federal buildings will be tougher.

In North Carolina, so far, only 3 percent of drivers have them.

Real ID driver's licenses have a gold star in the corner and means you've taken the steps to prove your identity and citizenship. If you don't have it, there's a deadline you need to know about.

“Looks like you're good through Jan. 30, 2019,” the DOT employee said to Billy Clarke.

Clarke's driver's license doesn't expire for more than a year, but he made an extra trip to the DMV on Patton Avenue to get a Real ID-compliant license, beating the deadline by a long shot.

“This is something we're encouraging all North Carolinians to do, and so I wanted to set a good example,” said Clarke.

How long did the process take?

”Maybe 10 minutes,” said Clarke after being called to the window.

It’s not just because he's a DOT Board member, but because Clarke made an appointment in advance and checked in before his trip to the DMV to bring the right documents.

“The hardest thing is finding all of your documents at home,” joked Clarke.

How does a Real ID differ from a typical driver's license? To get a Real ID, you must bring specific documents to prove your social security number, including your SSN card or a 1099 form, a W-2 or pay stub with your full social security number. There are also specific documents needed to prove your ID.

“It's a little extra, but they're things that should be around, or perhaps even in the safety deposit box,” said David Uchiyama, Division 13 Public Information Officer.

“When it comes in the mail, it will have a gold star for the Real ID on it,” explained the DOT agent.

In two years, you'll need that star or another acceptable document to access security checkpoints at the airport or to enter federal buildings or a military base. If you do it when you're renewing your license, it costs you nothing extra, otherwise the Real ID is $13.

While you've got a little time to get one, the DMV is hoping you won't wait.

“It's going to overwhelm the DMV, and the lines will be longer. It will take more than 10 minutes then,” said Clarke.

Starting Oct. 1, 2020, every air traveler will need a Real ID-compliant license, or another acceptable form of identification, for domestic air travel.

In North Carolina, to get a Real ID initially you must go to the DMV. You can't sign up for Real ID if you're renewing your driver's license online.

According to the NC DOT website here’s what you need:

Proof of Identity & Date of Birth

  • To prove your identity when applying for an N.C. Real ID, present one of these documents listed below.

Birth Certificate

  • A certified birth certificate issued by a government agency in the United States, Puerto Rico or a U.S. territory
  • A U.S. Report of Consular Birth Abroad
  • Photocopies of those documents are not allowed unless they are certified by the issuing agency.

Passport

  • A valid, unexpired U.S. passport
  • U.S. Government Documents
  • Documents issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240, DS-1350 or FS-545)
  • Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551)
  • Unexpired Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766 or I-688)
  • Unexpired foreign passport with a valid, unexpired U.S. visa affixed accompanied by the I-94 Arrival/Departure Record
  • Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570)
  • Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-560 or N-561)

Real ID

A valid, unexpired Real ID driver license or identification card issued from a REAL ID-compliant state.

Proof of Social Security Number

To provide proof of your Social Security number when applying for an N.C. Real ID driver's license or ID card, present one of these documents:

  • Social Security card
  • 1099 tax form with name and FULL Social Security number
  • W-2 form with name and FULL Social Security number
  • A pay stub with name and FULL Social Security number

Proof of North Carolina Residency

To provide proof of your current North Carolina residency when applying for an N.C. Real ID driver's license or ID card, present two of these documents:

  • Any document issued by North Carolina, county, city or the federal government
  • N.C. vehicle registration card or title
  • N.C. voter precinct card
  • Military orders/documents
  • Utility bill or cable bill
  • Housing lease or contract, mortgage statement, property or income tax statement
  • Preprinted financial statement
  • School records
  • N.C. vehicle insurance policy
  • Letter from homeless shelter

Proof of Legal Presence (Lawful Status)

To provide proof of your legal authorization to be in the U.S. when applying for an N.C. Real ID driver's license or ID card, non-U.S. citizens must present one of these documents:

  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240, DS-1350 or FS-545)
  • Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551)
  • Unexpired Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766 or I-688B)
  • Unexpired foreign passport with a valid, unexpired U.S. visa affixed accompanied by the I-94 Arrival/Departure Record
  • Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570)
  • Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-560 or N-561)
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