It's Time to Get Your REAL ID!
Starting May 3, 2023 the federal government is requiring an Enhanced or REAL ID to board a domestic flight within the United States, or to enter certain federal buildings or military bases. United States passports or other federally accepted forms of ID will still be accepted but if you plan to use your license, now is the best time to upgrade and avoid the last-minute rush.
In 2005, Congress passed the REAL ID Act, which established minimum security standards for state-issued driver licenses, permits and ID cards. It also prohibits federal agencies, such as the Transportation Security Administration from accepting cards for official purposes from states that do not meet these standards. New York State began issuing REAL ID’s in October of 2017, but you will now be required to obtain one.
In order to receive a REAL ID, you must go to your DMV office, as you will not be able to get one online, by phone, or through mail. You can schedule an appointment with your DMV online, making it quick and convenient when you arrive. The whole process takes about 15-20 minutes, but remember that you are required to show proof of identity (license, birth certificate or passport), proof of social security number or social security eligibility, proof of date of birth, proof of U.S. citizenship, lawful permanent residency or temporary lawful status, and two different proofs of NY State residence (i.e. utility bill, bank statement). Keep in mind, if the name on your license, permit, or non-driver ID application does not match the name on your identity, lawful status, and social security proofs, you must bring in court or government issues proof documenting the events causing your name change (i/e/ marriage license, divorce decree, adoption, or other documents). The NYS DMV offers a document guide, so you know exactly what documents to bring. The link can be found here.
There is no additional cost to get a REAL ID, but all normal transaction fees still apply, meaning everyone will have to pay roughly $40-$50 for a new ID. Just recently, legislation has been introduced that would waive all transaction fees for people to obtain a REAL ID. This legislation will remove the cost that people are being forced to pay, to essentially replace their current driver’s license they already paid for. I will be monitoring that bill and let you know if there is sufficient support for it to become law.
With May right around the corner, now is the best time to get your REAL ID and avoid the rush if you plan to board a domestic flight. For more information on obtaining a REAL ID, visit the DMV website at https://dmv.ny.gov/driver-license/federal-real-id.