The Real ID is really here.
At the Greensboro City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 10, a presentation was given on the Real ID by Lisa Crawford of the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. She talked about what it is, what it isn’t and how to get one.
The Real ID is the result of a pretty good compromise on a national identity card, and although you aren’t required to have one, if you travel or visit nuclear power sites regularly it will come in handy.
The Real ID is another attempt by the federal government to make the US more secure. There was a push for a national identity card after 9/11, but the Real ID is a federally recognized identification card issued by the states.
The law creating the Real ID was passed in 2005, which gives a good indication of how quickly the federal government works. In effect, the Real ID for most people is an upgraded driver’s license and to obtain it you need to provide some additional documentation.
Here is some more good news: You have until Oct. 1, 2020 to get your Real ID. After Oct. 1, 2020, if you don’t have a Real ID, you will be required to provide additional documents proving your identity to fly, or visit a federal facility such as a military base.
The Real ID is a federally accepted, state issued ID card. If you have a driver’s license then the Real ID is your driver’s license, except to get a Real ID driver’s license, you have to prove you are who you say you are, and all of the regular requirements for a driver’s license also apply.
But even if you don’t have a driver’s license, if you travel a Real ID is going to make your life a lot easier because it is federally recognized, which means you can use it for identification going through security at the airport with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
After Oct. 1, 2020, a regular North Carolina driver’s license or state identification card won’t be accepted as identification by the TSA.
The REAL ID will also be accepted at any federal facility like military bases and – for some reason they stress this in the literature – at nuclear power plants. Perhaps nuclear power plants have started attracting a lot of tourists. I know I’ve been to several, but I am a journalist and also was a consultant for utility companies that operated nuclear power plants. I never saw many tourists while I was visiting, but it’s been a while.
Although you can still renew your North Carolina driver’s license online, you have to go to a North Carolina driver’s license office to obtain a Real ID.
You also have to prove you are who you say you are, that your Social Security number is correct and that your address is correct. To do this you will need to take a number of documents with you. There is a long list of documents that the state will accept, such as a valid birth certificate, a valid US passport, a green card and a valid foreign passport with a US visa.
What makes the whole process more difficult for women is that if they have changed their name from what it is on their birth certificates then they have to be able to prove the name change is legal. This can be done with a marriage license, divorce decree or a document from the courts or Register of Deeds.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said that she had different names on different forms of identification, so it took a few documents for her to get this sorted out when she recently received her Real ID. Some may remember that when Vaughan ran for office the first time her name was Nancy Mincello.
City Councilmember Yvonne Jeffries Johnson said that her middle name was misspelled on her driver’s license and, because of that, it is now misspelled on her passport. She asked if she could get that fixed on the Real ID.
Crawford said if it was correct on her birth certificate they could take care of that.
Johnson said, “My first name is not on my birth certificate, just ‘Baby Jeffries’.”
Crawford asked Johnson to give her a call and she was sure they could straighten it out.
So if you have an error on some of your identification, this might be the time to get the correct name on all your documents.
To prove your Social Security number is correct you can provide your Social Security card, a W-2 or 1099 tax form with the full Social Security number, or even a pay stub if it includes your full Social Security number.
You also have to prove that your home address is correct with two documents. Any document issued by the State of North Carolina, a county or municipality, a preprinted bank statement, preprinted business letterhead, receipt for property taxes, vehicle registration card, vehicle insurance policy, a utility bill and a lease or mortgage statement are all acceptable forms.
The reason the state is pushing this now in 2018 is that it is estimated that 4 million Real IDs will be issued in North Carolina, and if everybody shows up on Sept. 30, 2020, that’s going to be a really long line.
There is no additional charge for a Real ID, so if you are renewing your North Carolina driver’s license then the fee is the same as for regular North Carolina driver’s licenses, which are still available but will not be accepted for federal identification after Oct. 1, 2020.
If your driver’s license has not expired then the fee for a REAL ID is $13, the same as for a duplicate driver’s license.
Crawford recommended that people interested in obtaining a Real ID call (919) 715-7000 and make an appointment. She said if you make an appointment it should only take about 15 minutes, and if you don’t have an appointment then you have to wait. And as anyone who has been to the DMV office knows, it could be a long wait. Crawford also said that if it’s time to renew your driver’s license then it makes sense to bring the additional documents and go ahead and get your Real ID.
The website for more information is ncrealid.gov.