You Need to Get Real

You Need to Get Real

By Freddy H. Robinson, CPA, Partner

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies from accepting, for official purposes, licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards. These purposes are:

  • Accessing federal facilities
  • Boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft
  • Entering nuclear power plants

 The final enforcement deadline is October 1, 2020.  By this date, not only must all states be issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses or IDs, but individuals must also have visited their state’s driver licensing agency and obtained a REAL ID compliant card, or acceptable alternative such as a U.S. passport, if they wish to fly on commercial aircrafts or access federal facilities. Travelers who do not present a REAL ID-compliant license or acceptable alternative beginning October 1, 2020 will not be permitted through the security checkpoint.

North Carolina, as well as every other state, is participating and fully compliant with the REAL ID requirements. Reports of excessive waiting time at North Carolina driver license locations are common. To avoid possible long waiting times, you can schedule an appointment by calling 919-715-7000. Presently, available appointment dates are approximately three months from the date of request. There are a number of specific documents that need to be presented as part of the REAL ID program. These can be found online at:

The cost for changing to a REAL ID NC driver license is $13. However, if your current NC driver license has an expiration date within six months of obtaining a REAL ID, it can be used as your renewal, but the cost is the same as a license renewal: $25.

If you haven’t already done so, make an appointment now to get your REAL ID. You don’t want to be stuck at a TSA security checkpoint after October 1, 2020 without one.

Freddy Robonson-4188

Freddy H. Robinson Partner, CPA

Freddy Robinson is a tax partner and has been with BRC for more than 41 years. He is responsible for tax-related services to individuals and closely held businesses. His areas of specialty include complex income tax issues, Internal Revenue Service examinations, mergers and acquisitions, business valuations, succession planning, estates and trusts, S corporations, partnerships, […]