By Cash Michaels

Even though 2018 is literally just a few days away, Oct. 1, 2020, still seems to be a long way down the road. And yet, if you to board a commercial airliner or enter a secure federal facility like a courthouse or military base, officials say now is the time to know all about getting what’s known as a REAL ID.

Issued by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, the REAL ID is a State government identification card mandated by Congress in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, where airplanes were hijacked and used to attack the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

If you do not have a REAL ID by Oct. 1, 2020, you will be required to show a passport in order to board a plane or a US Dept. of Defense identification or one of at least a dozen ID’s listed at the federal website of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s website at

Military bases, like Camp Lejeune and Fort Bragg, will require REAL ID’s as of Jan. 22, 1918. Currently, two forms of valid identification are already required to enter a military facility.

Thus, the need for a REAL ID, which looks very much like your driver’s license, except for a gold star in the right-hand corner. An estimated four million North Carolinians are expected to get their REAL ID’s by Oct. 1, 2020. So DMV officials are getting the word out now to prevent a crush of long lines at the 113 DMV offices statewide, getting closer to the deadline.

To obtain a REAL ID, three types of documentation are needed.

One should either be your birth certificate, indicating US citizenship or your US passport. If your name is currently different from that which is listed because of marriage or divorce, a marriage certificate or divorce decree is needed.

Then you need a document which displays your social security number, like a pay stub or W-2 form.

Finally, you’ll need a document that proves your North Carolina residency, like a current unexpired driver’s license. The full list of documents needed to apply for a REAL ID are found at

Please note that a REAL ID is separate from your driver’s license, which you are still required to renew. The REAL ID costs $40.00 and can be gotten at the same time you are renewing your driver’s license, as long as you do so before Oct. 1, 2020, or you can get it before Oct. 1, 2020. You can get your REAL ID by appointment.

And no, children below the age of 18 are not required to have REAL IDs, but the adults with whom they’re traveling do.

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