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What You Need To Know About NC's New Real ID

The Department of Motor Vehicles has seen it's fair share of lines over the past month after a number of issues. Now they're implementing changes to help shorten those wait times.

GREENSBORO, NC -- We all expect to wait in long lines - from buying concert tickets and getting though airport security to waiting in Black Friday shopping lines and to get popcorn at a sporting event. But somewhere you don't expect a line out the door: The North Carolina DMV.

The Department of Motor Vehicles has seen it's fair share of lines over the past month after a number of issues. First, computer and internet problems essentially shutdown operations. Then, thousands of IDs were printed with errors. And a real problem, Real IDs. So what is a Real ID and what do you need to know about it?

After the attacks of September 11th, Congress passed The Real ID Act in 2005 to prevent fake identification. States are still working to implement the changes and in North Carolina you have until October 2020 to get a Real ID.

Do you need it? Not necessarily. A Real ID is not required to drive only to board an airplane, go on a military base or visit a nuclear power plant or federal courthouse.

Appearance wise the only difference between a Real ID and your driver's license is a star in the upper-right-hand corner. The Real ID won't cost you anything if you get it within your license renewal period. If it's outside of that period a Real ID costs $13.

The NCDMV Commissioner, Torre Jessup, sent a memo to employees about the long wait times saying, "The month of August has been full of challenges for DMV, its employees, and its customers, but every challenge is an opportunity to improve."

Jessup said they're working to shorten those lines by creating express lines, bringing on additional customer service representatives to help people in line make sure they have the right documents and are in the correct line, establish dedicated road test teams, improve their process for setting appointments, and hiring more staff.

The DMV also created mobile units that will go out to major employers and events in the state so people can get their Real IDs. So far the mobile units have distributed more than 6,000 Real IDs and 600,000 Real IDs have been given out so far.

The commissioner also addressed the room of DMV Headquarters where only state employees could go for their Real IDs.

Jessup said, "While this helped to educate state employees about REAL ID and how to obtain REAL ID, it has been stopped and will not be restarted. Already, DMV employees who worked in that training office have been deployed to other DMV offices where the need is greater."

The best way to avoid a line at the DMV is to be prepared. When you go to get a Real ID you'll need to bring proof of identity and birth date, proof of legal or lawful presence in the United States, any name change documents you have, your social security card and two documents that prove your current address and residency in North Carolina.

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