North Carolina Driver’s License ID
North Carolina Driver’s License, Beginning Oct. 1, 2021, firstly, federal agencies will enforce the ID Act, which requires a REAL ID, U.S. passport or another federally approved identification to board commercial flights and enter secure federal buildings.
The N.C. ID is a REAL ID Act-compliant driver license that is just like a traditional license or ID but has a star at the top.
North Carolina License Completely Optional
You do not need a N.C. ID driver license or identification card to do any of the following:
Apply for or receive federal benefits (e.g., Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, etc.)
Enter a federal facility that does not require an ID (e.g., a post office)
Access a hospital or receive life-saving services
Participate in law enforcement proceedings or investigations (e.g., serve on a federal jury, testify in federal court, etc.)
A N.C. ID, however, might be helpful for anyone who frequently:
Boards a commercial airplane.
An individual without a N.C. ID or U.S. passport may still be able to board flights or make visits to the facilities mentioned above, but they may have to provide additional documentation with their traditional license or ID.
Getting a N.C.ID
Even though the federal law is not effective until Oct. 1, 2021, anyone can get a N.C.ID now.
One document (with full name) proving identity and date of birth
One document (with full name and full Social Security Number) confirming Social Security number
Two documents (with current physical address) proving North Carolina residency
For non-U.S. citizens, one document (with full name) proving legal presence/lawful status
If applicable, one or more documents verifying any name change
View Acceptable Documents
Don’t want to stand in line? Appointments for online license and ID card services can be made online.
Learn more about making an appointment online
Your first N.C. ID can be obtained online. It can only be issued at a driver license office, where required documents will be scanned and permanently stored, as required under federal law, in your NCDMV record.
Getting a N.C. ID driver license or ID card costs the same as getting any other license or ID for the first time, and the process is similar.
If you get a N.C. ID outside of the renewal period, the cost is same as a duplicate license or ID card. You will have to take a new photo.
The cost is the same as a renewal, if the ID is obtained within six months of expiration. You will have to take a vision test and take a new photo.
Applying for a North Carolina driver license or ID card will cancel any licenses or ID cards from other states through the State-to-State Verification program.