1. Get Started With New ID Card Assistance Online

Access online assistance services for help on how to get your new ID as soon as possible. In many states, getting a driver’s license or ID for the first time involves several steps. Therefore, knowing what you will need to do and which documents you will need to present to the DMV is important. Online assistance provides step-by-step instructions on how to apply for a new license or ID card. Take advantage of this service to simplify the process today.

2. By Mail

Some drivers prefer to complete their DMV transactions by mail. Unfortunately, this process is generally much slower than simply dealing with the DMV online. When completing DMV transactions by mail, make sure to set aside enough time for your documents to reach the DMV. If you are on a tight schedule, be mindful that the DMV will need to receive your documents, process your request and mail a response back to you. Double-check all forms, payment methods and applications before mailing them, as any error on your part may delay the process.

3. In Person at a DMV Office

There are DMV transactions that you can only complete in person at a DMV office. These are sometimes lengthy processes, and since DMV lines are often long and slow, preparing beforehand can help ensure your visit is as quick as possible. Knowing which documents you will need and filling out necessary forms before your visit can keep you from wasting your trip. In these cases, online assistance services can help by providing you with all the information you need to make your visit a success.


The process of getting North Carolina ID card credentials can be completed through the state Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) by applicants ineligible for a driving license and those that choose not to drive. Therefore, you cannot hold both a state ID and a license to drive under the current DMV regulations. Note that NC DMV ID card documents serve the same photo identification purposes as a driver’s license without granting the privileges of a driving credential.

Applicants for new ID card credentials also have the option of applying for the optional REAL ID version, which abides by the regulations of the federal REAL ID Act. While getting a REAL ID card in NC is not mandatory, starting in 2020, these secure credentials will be used to board airplanes or enter federal buildings. If you own a standard state issued ID, you will still be permitted to use it for these purposes only if you provide additional paperwork. Learn more about the process of getting a state ID in North Carolina by reading the sections outlined below.

Requirements for an ID Card in North Carolina

To obtain a new identification card in North Carolina, applicants will be required to meet the full set of DMV ID requirements set forth by the state DMV. Note that NC state ID cards can be obtained by fulfilling fewer requirements than those that apply for driving licenses, as applicants will not be required to pass any tests or meet a specific age criteria. However, non-drivers obtaining state ID credentials will still be required to:

  • Be residents of North Carolina.
  • Prove their identity, age, Social Security Number, state residency and legal U.S. presence.
  • Pay the current NC ID card cost.

Before submitting the necessary documents for ID card credentials, applicants must ensure they have collected the correct paperwork, as depending on their specific circumstances, they may be required to submit different documentation. When applying for a state issued identification card, U.S. citizens will be able to prove their age and identity with two separate documents, such as a driving license issued by any state DMV, a certificate of birth or a military ID. As proof of residency, NC ID card applicants can submit a document such as a vehicle registration card or a housing contract. One of the two documents for identification cards used to verify your age and identity can also be used as proof of a residential address. To finalize the procedure to apply for ID card credentials as a U.S. citizen, you will be required to verify your Social Security Number (SSN) with a document such as a 1099 form, a W-2 form or your Social Security card.

Non-U.S. citizens and applicants for a REAL identification card will be required to submit a different set of documents for ID cards in NC. Noncitizens, for example, can prove their identity with paperwork such as a valid foreign passport and documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Non-citizen ID card applicants will also be required to prove the legality of their U.S. stay if they were not issued an SSN. Acceptable documents for this purpose include permanent resident cards, employment authorization cards and other documents.

Applicants for a REAL DMV ID cards, on the other hand, will be required to submit one proof of identity and age, one SSN evidence and two documents proving their residential address. The list of acceptable documents for REAL ID cards in NC is the same as the one that applies for standard ID credentials.

The North Carolina ID Card Application Process

The procedure to apply for ID cards in North Carolina can be completed by submitting the necessary items through a local DMV driver license office. Therefore, to avoid revisiting the DMV, applicants for state issued ID credentials must ensure they have collected the specific paperwork that applies to their situation. During your office visit, you can finalize the NC ID card application process by completing the following steps:

  • Fill out an ID card form (if required).
  • Present the supporting evidentiary paperwork.
  • Have your photo taken.
  • Surrender previously-issued ID cards and driving licenses (if applicable).
  • Arrange payment for the NC DMV ID fee (if not exempted).

When the state DMV accepts your identification card application, you will be issued a receipt. The new ID card will be mailed to your address on file within 10 business days. Applicants younger than 21 years of age will receive an NC state ID with a vertical orientation, whereas adult applicants will be issued the standard horizontally oriented ID card.

Note: While you are unable to obtain identification cards online in NC, you will still be able to complete the ID card replacement and renewal procedures via the department’s online services, whenever required to do so.

North Carolina Identification Card Fees

An important step when getting a state ID in North Carolina is to pay the applicable DMV ID price. Both the standard and the REAL ID non driver’s license currently cost the same price. However, certain groups of applicants may be eligible for free-of-charge ID credentials. These special groups of applicants will be required to prove their eligibility for no-charge ID credentials in addition to submitting the standard supporting paperwork.

Note: Remember that if you are looking to drive in North Carolina, you will need to obtain a driver’s license. Merely having an NC ID card will not grant you the privilege to operate a motor vehicle. If you need help learning how to drive, you can enroll in driver’s education courses. You can also take practice tests to help you pass the licensing exams.

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