The North Carolina state ID serves as valid proof of identification for residents who do not hold a driver’s license. While these identification credentials do not provide state residents with driving privileges, cardholders may use their non-driver identification credentials as proof of photo ID when voting, obtaining a new job or opening a bank account. To obtain a non-driver photo ID, customers must apply through the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV) under the state Department of Transportation (NCDOT).

Moreover, an ID card is available as a standard or REAL ID-compliant identification credential. To obtain an identification card that complies with federal security standards under the REAL ID Act of 2005, customers must provide additional documentation as proof of their eligibility. However, North Carolina residents may obtain either type of non-driver identification credential at any age. To learn more about applying for an identification credential in North Carolina, review the information below.

North Carolina DMV ID Requirements

To meet the North Carolina DMV state ID requirements, applicants must not hold a valid driver’s license, and they must be able to present proof of age, identity, Social Security Number (SSN), address and legal presence. However, North Carolina residents may apply for a non-driver identification credential at any age.

What do you need to get an ID in North Carolina?

“What do you need to get a state ID in North Carolina?” residents may wonder. When obtaining a non-driver identification credential, customers must provide proof of their eligibility to do so. To purchase a standard identification credential for the first time, for instance, applicants must submit:

  • One proof of age and identity. Examples include a certified copy of a birth certificate, a U.S. passport, a valid foreign passport, a REAL ID-compliant credential or a motor vehicle record.
  • One proof of SSN. To meet this requirement, customers may provide a Social Security card, DD-214 form or a W-2 or 1099.
  • One proof of North Carolina residency. U.S. citizens must provide proof of state residency, such as a vehicle registration card or title certificate, utility bill or mortgage statement. To obtain a child ID card for a minor younger than 18 years of age, acceptable proof of state residency includes school records, magazine subscriptions or hunting and fishing licenses.
  • One proof of legal presence. Non-U.S. citizens must also present proof of legal presence, such as a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a valid Permanent Resident card or an Employment Authorization document.
  • Payment for the DMV ID card fee. All NCDMV offices accept credit cards (Discover, American Express, MasterCard and Visa), cash, personal checks and money orders as payment. If paying by check, however, the payment must be written in blue or black ink, include the payer’s name, phone number and address, and be written out to “NCDMV.” Additionally, the payer must include two forms of his or her identification.

How to Get an ID in North Carolina

Customers cannot apply to get ID online in NC, as all first-time applicants must apply in person, at a local DMV driver license office. To find a driver license branch that handles requests such as these, customers may use the DMV’s online office locator tool by entering their ZIP codes or the name of the city or county in which they live.

To learn more about how and where to get state ID credentials, complete the required steps. These include:

  1. Visit a local NCDMV driver license office to present all required documents
  2. Pay the applicable fee
  3. Receive a temporary identification credential that remains valid for 60 days, or until the permanent card arrives in the mail

In most cases, applicants receive their new identification card issuances in the mail, within 20 days. The DMV mails its ID credentials from a central location, rather than local driver license offices.

If applicants cannot visit the DMV to get ID credentials due to a severe disability, they may request homebound assistance by contacting the Division’s telephone number at 919-861-3030, or they may fax a Special Conditions Service Homebound Customer Request form (NGSDLS-005) to the DMV’s Issuance Resolution Unit, to 919-861-3393.

When requesting homebound assistance, state ID card applicants must provide proof of North Carolina residency and U.S. citizenship, an SSN, evidence of age and identity and a letter from a certified physician. As another option, customers may request homebound assistance by mailing a written request to the following address:

Issuance Resolution Unit
3176 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27697-3176

REAL ID Cards in North Carolina

A North Carolina REAL ID card is a secure type of non-driver identification credential that meets federal standards under the REAL ID Act of 2005. A REAL ID-compliant card displays a star in the top-right corner, whereas a non-compliant card reads, “Not for Federal Identification.” While upgrading a standard card to a REAL ID-compliant credential is optional, all individuals will need to present one federally acceptable proof of identification when boarding airplanes or entering certain federal facilities after October 1, 2020.

If residents do not apply for REAL ID credentials before October 1, 2020, they will need to present another acceptable form of ID when entering certain federal buildings or boarding airplanes (such as a U.S. passport or military identification credential). With a REAL ID-compliant card, however, individuals can board commercial airplanes or enter military bases, nuclear power plants and certain federal facilities without presenting additional proof of identification.

To obtain REAL ID cards in NC, customers must visit a local NCDMV driver license office to apply in person, pay the applicable fee and present proof of their eligibility. If customers hold the non-compliant card, they may upgrade their credentials to the REAL ID-compliant card at any time, as long as they meet these same requirements.

There are several documents required for REAL ID eligibility. These include the below:

  • One proof of identity and date of birth, such as a certified birth certificate, a U.S. passport, a REAL ID driver’s license, or a valid foreign passport with a U.S. visa and an I-94 record
  • One proof of legal presence or lawful status (for non-U.S. citizens), such as a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a Certificate of Citizenship, a Certificate of Naturalization, a Permanent Resident card, an Employment Authorization document, or a foreign passport and a valid U.S. visa and an I-94 record
  • One proof of SSN, such as the ID card applicant’s Social Security card, payroll record, W-2 or 1099 tax form
  • Two proofs of North Carolina residency, such as a state-issued document, a vehicle registration or title certificate, a voter precinct card, military documents, a cable bill or a letter from a homeless shelter

If applying for REAL ID credentials as a minor, an applicant may present proof of his or her state residency. He or she can do so by submitting two of the following:

  • A school record
  • A bank statement
  • A hunting or fishing license
  • A medical record
  • A tax return
  • A letter from a homeless shelter

Note: An identity card applicant must also provide one proof of name change if his or her current legal name differs from the name on a birth certificate, passport or other government-issued document.

How to Renew or Replace a State ID in North Carolina

A resident may replace a lost ID card in NC by visiting a local driver license office to complete the process in person, or he or she may order a duplicate credential online. However, cardholders must replace their credentials in person, at a driver license office, if their cards are no longer active, or their NCDMV photos were taken more than five years prior. If replacing a standard credential with a REAL ID-compliant card, however, customers must visit an NCDMV driver license office to replace their non-driver identification materials in person.

While residents may get a replacement ID card in person or online, customers must renew their credentials at an NCDMV driver license office. When renewing their credentials, North Carolina residents may choose to upgrade to a REAL ID-compliant card at no additional cost.

DMV ID Costs in North Carolina

To purchase or replace any type of identification credential in North Carolina, the fee is $13. There is no additional fee to purchase a REAL ID-compliant ID in the state. However, no-fee IDs are available to certain state residents. These include North Carolina residents who:

  • Are legally blind, homeless or have lost their driving privileges due to a disease or disability. To waive the DMV ID cost, applicants must be at least 17 years of age. Additionally, homeless applicants must present a verification letter from the director of a shelter, or a similar type of facility, while those who are legally blind must present a letter from the North Carolina Division of Services for the Blind.
  • Hold developmental disabilities. Residents or their legal guardians must complete an Application for Identification Card (DL-232) if they wish to obtain no-free credentials. Additionally, applicants must submit the form, along with a certification letter from a physician, or a doctor may complete the “Physician’s Section” of the application.
Last updated on Wednesday, March 4 2020.