HAMLET — The North Carolina Department of Transportation held a demonstration of the process to obtain a REAL ID on Friday, a new standard of identity verification, as they begin the process to bring the state into compliance with a law passed in response to the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
The REAL ID Act of 2005 requires two forms of verification of address, in addition to the normal requirements of documentation to verify date of birth and social security number, which will add a gold star in the top right corner of state identification. The gold star will signify that a state ID is in compliance with federal standards, thus removing the need to bring two forms of ID in order to pass through TSA checkpoints, access military bases, courthouses and nuclear plants, which may have different requirements depending on the state and the facility.
“This REAL ID gold star is accepted everywhere,” said Patrice Bethea, a spokesperson for the Division of Motor Vehicles. “You don’t have to worry about planning ahead and trying to find out what documents they need…it takes all the guesswork out.”
These federal buildings and airport security will begin accepting REAL IDs on Jan. 22, 2018. Starting Oct. 1, 2020, these facilities will require either a REAL ID or two forms of acceptable identification.
North Carolina began the process of getting residents signed up for REAL ID on May 1. Bethea said that the federal government waited 12 years to allow states time to implement the change, and is beginning to encourage people to sign up now to make sure that the DMV offices are not overwhelmed in 2020.
“NCDOT is telling the public ‘this is important you should not put it off, you should do it, you’ll be better off in the long run if you go ahead and get your REAL ID,’” said Andrew Barksdale, a spokesperson for NCDOT.
Pat Molamphy, the regional DOT board member, demonstrated the process to get a REAL ID at the DMV office in Aberdeen. He and a DMV representative timed the process, which took around 15 minutes start to finish. Molamphy described the process as “painless,” and said the only difference was that he had to sign an additional form stating that the address provided was correct.
There are no additional charges associated with obtaining a REAL ID.
Only 314 Richmond County residents have obtained their REAL ID as of Friday, according to Bethea. She said that about 218,000 drivers have gotten their new IDs to this point, out of 7 million licensed drivers in North Carolina — about three percent.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]