Real ID in North Carolina

Left, Izzy Parsons’s license features a gold star, meaning it is a Real ID. On the right, McKenna Daley’s license does not have a star and is instead labeled “not for federal identification”. Before October 2020, Daley will have to visit the DMV and renew her card. (Photo courtesy of Natalie Gore)

Throughout the school year at Leesville, many students make the horrid trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles to test for their driver’s permit or driver’s license. Recently, the lines at the DMV have gotten much longer every single day. Students are missing more time in or out of class to complete work, study, and bloom in their respective learning environments.

The extensive waits originally stem from a law that does not take full effect until the year of 2020. Although passed back in 2005, the rule of Real ID is gradually but consistently impacting people at the DMV.

After the terrorist attack of 9/11 on American soil, Congress decided that the federal government needed to strengthen identification, like driver’s licenses. Now, any form of ID issued by a state is set to a minimum standard. Those forms of identification that do not meet the requirements are not accepted by any federal agency.

Real ID cards carry a gold star in the top right corner, signifying that the cardholder is a legal U.S. citizen and is allowed to fly domestically and internationally. On October 1, 2020, people will no longer be able to pass through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints without a Real ID or other acceptable identification.

Other forms of identification that will be accepted include passports and passport cards, border crossing cards, or a Department of Defense ID. Luckily, the TSA has implemented a rule that may allow citizens to fly if they have forgotten a proper form of ID. Additional screening and questioning to verify their identification will decide whether or not they continue on to being patted down.

Many Leesville students are now scheduling appointments and clearing their agenda to ensure that they can renew their permit or license.

“Well, because I’m getting my license in October, I got lucky, and I can do it all at once at the DMV. But for all of my friends that already have their ID, they’ve had to go back and sit there for hours and hours and hours because of how long the lines are. It’s getting so out of hand,” said Analeigh Kurelich, Leesville junior.

Another junior at Leesville, Hayden Sewitsky, missed an entire day of school to get his license and still did not make it through the line in time before the DMV closed for the night. Sewitsky said, “I was in line, and I saw a lady a couple spots in front of me who had been waiting for hours have to leave because she didn’t have the right documents she needed. I felt so bad and I wish everyone knew what to bring.”

To avoid confusion, this is a list of acceptable and necessary documents needed to renew identification to a Real ID:

  • Identity and date of birth: birth certificate, U.S. passport, foreign passport, school transcript
  • Legal presence/lawful status: certificate of naturalization, certificate of citizenship, unexpired and valid foreign passport
  • Social Security number: social security card, W-2 form, payroll record, 1099 tax form
  • Name change: *only necessary if your name has been changed since birth/differs from other documents*, certified marriage license, divorce decree
  • North Carolina residency (2 documents required): vehicle registration card, military documents, utility or cable bill, housing lease or contract, school records, letter from homeless shelter

If an individual is under 18, as most current Leesville students are, the following documents are also acceptable:

  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Medical and hospitalization records
  • Hunting or fishing license
  • Preprinted bank statement or business letter

As the date of implementation of the Real ID law approaches, DMV lines will only get longer and more irritating for students. Therefore, people should begin to research and prepare before going to the Department of Motor Vehicles. While the wait may be extensive, there are multiple ways to get ready to renew identification.


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