Identification Cards in North Carolina

ID Cards in North Carolina

If you don't have another form of photo identification, such as a driver's license, a NC identification card can be used for things such as opening a bank account or getting a job. The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles makes it easy for you to apply for an ID card, pay fees, renew or replace your ID, or change your name or address.

NC REAL ID Cards

The North Carolina DMV has begun issuing federally-compliant REAL IDs, which allow you to use your license for domestic travel and entry into federal and military buildings. You can choose to receive a REAL ID upon initial application or renewal, or retain a standard non-compliant license—details are outlined below.

North Carolina ID Card Eligibility

You can be of any age to apply for a NC ID card. To be eligible, you must:

  • Not have a current driver's license.
  • Be able to prove your:
    • Full name.
    • Date of birth.
    • Social Security Number.
    • Legal presence.
    • NC residency.

If you have just moved to North Carolina, you can apply for an ID card as long as you have proof of your NC address, such as utility bills, a rental agreement, and your vehicle registration card.

Apply for an NC ID Card

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) does NOT allow you to apply for an ID Card online or by mail. To apply, you must visit any North Carolina Driver's License office in person.

Visit your local North Carolina Driver's License office and bring:

  • Proof of:
    • Identity (2 documents) including your full name and birth date, such as your:
    • Social Security number, such as your:
      • Social Security card.
      • Tax forms from the IRS.
      • Payroll record.
    • North Carolina residency and legal presence, such as your:
      • Vehicle registration card.
      • Utility bills.
      • Rental agreement or mortgage statement.
        • To get a REAL ID, you must bring 2 documents proving your residency.
    • Payment for the $13 ID card fee.
      • There are also a variety of ID cards that are free, depending on specific circumstances. See our Fees section below for details.

For a complete list of approved documents, please visit the North Carolina DMV website.

ID Card Fees in North Carolina

You will need to pay a $13 fee to get your ID card in North Carolina for both REAL IDs and standard IDs. NC DMV offices will only take cash, money orders, or personal checks for payments. Debit and credit cards are not accepted.

You'll pay the same fee for either a REAL ID or non-compliant identification card.

You may be exempt from the fee if you:

  • Are legally blind.
  • Are over 70 years old.
  • Are homeless. If you are homeless, you must have a letter from the director of a facility that provides care for homeless people verifying that you are homeless.
  • Have had your driver's license canceled due to a physical or mental disability or disease.

No-Fee Voter ID Card

You can apply for a free NC identification card to be used for voting ONLY if you cannot provide photo identification. To qualify, you will need to:

  • Be registered to vote in North Carolina.
  • Provide proof of your identity and residency.
  • Not have a valid driver license.

This form of NC ID card will be valid for voting and for identification purposes only. You will apply using the same documents (proof of name, birth date, Social Security, and residency) as listed above.

Renew or Replace Your NC ID Card

You have a couple of processes to follow when it comes to renewing or replacing your North Carolina identification card:

  • Renew: In person ONLY.
  • Replace: Online OR in person, depending on your circumstances.

Let's break them down below.

Changing Your ID Card Information

If any of your information has changed between your initial ID card application and renewal, make sure to submit those changes to the DMV, either before or upon your renewal.

Here's a look at what to prepare for.

Change Your Name

If you need to change your name on your identification card, the NC DMV requires you to first change your name with the Social Security Administration. After 24–36 hours, you can go to your local North Carolina DMV and order a duplicate ID card with your new name. You cannot change your name online or by mail.

Visit our guide to changing your name with the NC DMV for full details.

Change Your Address

You can change your address on your North Carolina ID card online or in person at your local DMV office. You cannot change your address by mail.

Online

To change your address online, you must have:

  • A valid ID card issued after January 2000.
  • A valid Social Security number on file with the DMV.
  • Your ID card number and date of birth.
  • An e-mail address.
  • A Visa, MasterCard or Discover card to pay the $13 fee.

Visit the DMV's Duplicate License Request online portal to get started. You will need to request a PIN, which will be sent to your e-mail address.

NOTE: If you have a suspended license or outstanding debt with the DMV, you cannot order a duplicate ID online.

In Person

To change your address in person, visit your local NC DMV office with:

  • Your current or expired ID card, or 2 documents showing proof of your identity (e.g. original or certified copy of your birth certificate, certified marriage certificate, or passport).
  • Payment for the $13 fee.

You may visit the NC DMV's website for a complete list of approved documents.

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