The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles began offering "REAL ID" identification cards Monday.
The identification cards are alternatives to standard state-issued cards and comply with federal requirements enacted after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The new IDs are marked with a gold star in the upper right corner.
In 2005, Congress passed the REAL ID Act, which increased security standards for state-issued driver licenses and IDs to help prevent fraudulent identification.
The new law was in response to the 2001 terrorist attacks. On Oct. 1, 2020, the Transportation Security Administration will begin enforcing REAL ID requirements at airport security checkpoints. Federal agencies will also begin requiring REAL ID-compliant licenses and IDs for admission to a variety of federal facilities.
Drivers won't be required to have a REAL ID to operate a motor vehicle, but will need either a REAL ID, or a standard identification plus another form of federally accepted ID in order to board flights or enter military bases or certain other federal facilities.
DMV spokeswoman Patrice Bethea said there's no rush to get a new ID unless you want one.
"They can simply apply for one when they get ready to renew their license or identification card. Or if someone decides they want one before their renewal period, they can go into an office with their verifying documents and get one for the cost of a duplicate, which is only $13," she said.