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New NC driver’s licenses should get you through airport security more easily

N.C. residents can obtain special new optional driver s licenses beginning on Monday that the state says will make it easier to pass through security at airports and military bases. The N.C. REAL ID license is just like your traditional driver s license or ID but has a gold star endorsement at the top, officials with the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles said in announcing the new licenses on Wednesday. The state is issuing the new licenses in response to tougher security standards planned at airport security check-ins and military bases and other federal facilities beginning on Oct. 1, 2020.

Residents must visit their nearest DMV license office to apply for their first N.C. REAL ID.

The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles has worked extremely hard to prepare our state to meet this new federal requirement, David Howard, deputy secretary of the N.C. Department of Transportation, said in a statement. We are glad to offer this optional, single ID to help our citizens travel and access federal facilities. Here are some frequently asked questions[1] about the new license, according to the DMV:

Q. Where do I go to get one? A. You must visit a DMV driver license office[2] to obtain your first N.C. REAL ID license. You also can obtain an N.C. REAL ID license at the time of your license renewal, or before the renewal period for the cost of a duplicate.

Q, What documents must I take with me to apply for the new license? A. You must provide:

One document that proves your identity, such as a birth certificate, valid U.S. passport or immigration documents.

One document that verifies birth, such as a birth certificate, valid U.S. passport or immigration documents.

One document that confirms your Social Security number, such as a Social Security card or W-2 form.

Two documents that establish where you live in North Carolina, such as a utility bill, vehicle registration card or bank statement. A complete list of documents that are acceptable proofs of identity and residency is available at[3]. Q. What happens if I don t get one?

A. The new licenses are not mandatory. You can still board flights and enter federal facilities, as long as you provide your license or ID and some additional documentation[4], such as a passport or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service I-766 employment authorization card. Residents who prefer to keep their current license or ID will receive credentials that carry the notation, Not for Federal Identification. Q. Does the new license cost more than what I pay now for my driver s license?

A. No. It costs the same. Q. How did this REAL ID driver s license thing start? A. The new standards were established by the federal REAL ID Act, passed in 2005 in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The act is administered by the Department of Homeland Security.

Q. What distinguishes the N.C. REAL ID license from a traditional driver s license?

A. The N.C. REAL ID license will have a gold star in the top right corner to indicate your identity and residency documents are permanently stored with the N.C. DMV.


  1. ^ frequently asked questions (
  2. ^ driver license office (
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  4. ^ additional documentation (

LAX Airport Security Let Gun Pass in Travelers Carry-On

An off-duty police officer managed to fly out of Los Angeles International Airport with a gun in her carry-on luggage last week. Officer Noell Grant of the Santa Monica Police Department said she only realized she d accidentally brought her personal firearm along when she was about to change planes in Taipei. The gun and six bullets had made it through security at LAX undetected, a fact confirmed by the Transportation Security Administration on Thursday. Nico Melendez of the TSA was quoted by the BBC as saying that authorities determined standard procedures were not followed and a police officer did in fact pass through the [airport] checkpoint with a firearm. We ll hold those responsible appropriately accountable, he said. Grant informed local authorities in Taiwan of the blunder and has been told to stay in the country, though she hasn t been charged with anything.

Aldermen Propose Changes To Airport Security After Passenger Dragged Off United Plane

Chicago aldermen proposed various measures Wednesday to change how security is handled at city airports after Department of Aviation officers at O Hare International Airport dragged a man off a United flight[1] last week, an incident that reportedly left the man with a broken nose, missing teeth and a concussion.

Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward), who worked at Southwest Airlines for 15 years, introduced an order requesting the consolidation of the Department of Aviation s security force into the Chicago Police Department.

As we look at how to better integrate the safety of our airports, again having that single legal authority to act in these situations, I think our liability [in the United incident] may have been less, Lopez said.

The measure was immediately dismissed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel s office. Emanuel spokesman Matthew McGrath said the problem on the plane was a lack of judgement, not the lack of a weapon, and this wouldn’t solve that problem.

Lopez wasn t the only alderman trying to legislate around the United debacle. A group of six aldermen including powerful Ald. Ed Burke (14th Ward) and Ald. Michael Zalewski (23rd Ward), who is the chairman of the City Council s Committee on Aviation want to prohibit city employees from assisting airline personnel in the removal of passengers.

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In a statement, Burke said the council needs to act decisively to ensure that no City employee will participate in any future incident that involves the removal of a passenger at Chicago s airports.

Burke said the proposal would allow city employees to board a plane only if a crime were committed or if they were responding to a medical emergency.

The mayor s office isn t a fan of that, either. McGrath said that Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans acted swiftly in her response by suspending the officers involved in the United episode, and that Evans is doing a thorough review of the incident, which we’re not going to get ahead of.

During a City Council hearing last week, Evans told aldermen[2] that an outside security expert is reviewing department procedures and how security officers handled the situation.

Many aldermen during the hearing voiced concerns that the United fiasco will leave city taxpayers on the hook if the passenger, David Dao, decides to file a lawsuit. Dao s attorney last week told reporters that a lawsuit is likely. [3]

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz on Tuesday said no airline employees involved in the incident will be fired. He said United is conducting its own investigation that will conclude by the end of the month. [4]

Lauren Chooljian covers city politics for WBEZ. You can follow her at @laurenchooljian.


  1. ^ dragged a man off a United flight (
  2. ^ Evans told aldermen (
  3. ^ a lawsuit is likely. (
  4. ^ will be fired (
  5. ^ @laurenchooljian (
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