Law will require a gold star on your ID if you want to fly in 2020


If you're looking to fly the friendly skies next year, you are going to need a gold star.

Starting in October 2020, to board a domestic flight, you will need a Real ID driver license, a non-driver identification card or a passport for domestic flights. The same identifications will be needed to enter a secure federal facility.

This change takes effect due to the 9/11 Commission's recommendation that the federal government set standards for officials forms of identification.

According to, your first N.C. Real ID cannot be obtained online. It can only be issued at a driver license office, where required documents will be scanned and permanently stored, as required under federal law, in your NCDMV record.

The Real ID Act has established minimum security standards for state-issued ID cards. According to, every state has a more secure driver license today than before the act was passed.

Your current forms of identification will work until Oct. 2020, but after that, you will need that gold star in the top right corner to make it valid.

A N.C. Real ID is completely optional: You do not need an N.C. Real ID driver license or identification card to do any of the following: 

  • Drive
  • Vote
  • Apply for or receive federal benefits (e.g., Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, etc.)
  • Enter a federal facility that does not require an ID (e.g,. a post office) Access a hospital or receive life-saving services
  • Participate in law enforcement proceedings or investigations (e.g., serve on a federal jury, testify in federal court, etc.)

An N.C. Real ID, however, will be helpful for anyone who frequently:

  • Boards a commercial airplane
  • Visits nuclear sites
  • Visits military bases
  • Visits federal courthouses, federal prisons or other federal facilities

An individual without an N.C. Real ID or U.S. passport may still be able to board flights or make visits to the facilities mentioned above, but they will have to provide additional documentation with their traditional license or ID, officials said. 

For more information on N.C. Real ID's, please click here.