It’s getting closer and closer — time to get your Real ID. The deadline is Oct. 1 and without it, you may not be able to fly commercially or enter military bases, federal facilities to include courthouses and prisons, or nuclear power plants.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the Real ID Act of 2005 enacts the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations to establish “minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards for official purposes, such as at airport security checkpoints.”

Visit https://www.ncdot.gov/dmv to find out exactly what documentation is required to obtain a Real ID, but at a minimum, you must provide documentation showing your full legal name, date of birth, social security number, two proofs of address of principle residence, and lawful status. And if your name has changed since birth, you will need to show proof such as a certified copy of your marriage certificate, certified divorce decree, or a document from the Register of Deeds indicating the name change.

In North Carolina, Real ID cards will have a gold star in the upper right corner of the driver’s license. If the card does not have this marking, it is not Real ID-compliant and won’t be accepted as proof of identity in order to board commercial aircraft. In fact, non-Real ID licenses specifically say “Not For Federal Identification.” The Act does not require individuals to present identification where it is not currently required to access a Federal facility (such as to enter public areas of the Smithsonian, for example.)

You may wonder if your child needs a Real ID or other identification card to fly domestically. The answer is “no,” according to Homeland Security. The Transportation Security Administration does not require children under the age of 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States.

However, beginning Oct. 1 adult travelers who do not present a REAL-ID compliant license or acceptable alternative will not be permitted through the security checkpoint. Other acceptable forms of identification can be found a www.tsa.gov/travel, and you must contact TSA and other federal agencies in advance to determine documentation required for access because documentation can vary from one agency to another. If you are traveling internationally, you will still need a passport.

The Division of Motor Vehicles is stretched thin as it is, so I encourage you to call and make an appointment to get your Real ID as soon as possible. And when you arrive at the DMV, make sure you have all the required documents so you do not get turned away. The time is getting near — do not delay. I’d hate to see someone’s travel plans come to a halt because they did not have their Real ID. For additional detailed information, visit www.ncrealid.gov.