NEW YORK – New York residents will need an enhanced driver’s license or a REAL ID compliant driver’s license by October 1, 2020, if they want to use it to get on a domestic flight, enter certain federal buildings or enter military bases. With that in mind, it is highly recommended that New Yorkers who plan to travel upgrade from a standard driver’s license to a REAL ID or enhanced license before the deadline.
New York’s REAL ID driver’s licenses have a star in the upper right corner to indicate that it meets federal regulations that establish minimum security standards. The enhanced driver’s license has a U.S. flag on the bottom right of the license.
The upgraded REAL IDs will be required starting October 1, 2020, to board a flight. The enhanced IDs, which cost $30 in addition to the regular transaction fees, are good to board a plane and enter the U.S. by land or sea to cross into the U.S. coming from Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean. New York residents have the option to upgrade to a REAL ID if their license does not currently have the star or they can opt to keep their older standard driver’s license. However, a standard credential—without the star—will not be valid to board a flight or to access secure federal facilities, including military bases and some federal offices.
To get the REAL ID star, individuals will need to visit their local New York Department of Motor Vehicles office in person and bring certain documents to prove U.S. citizenship and New York residency. Required documents include one proof of identity, one proof of legal presence, two proofs of New York residency, one proof of your social security number (if you’ve been issued one) and a current driver’s license if you are applying to exchange one issued by another U.S. state.
Transportation Security Administration officers who staff the ticket document checking station at airports will not allow travelers into the checkpoint without a REAL ID or enhanced license or another form of acceptable ID after October 1, 2020, because of a federal law (The REAL ID Act of 2005) that mandates that a REAL ID is needed for federal purposes. REAL ID is a coordinated effort by the federal government to improve the reliability and accuracy of driver’s licenses and identification cards. The improvements are intended to inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.
Travelers will begin seeing new signs at airports nationwide in the coming weeks to remind people that REAL ID-compliant licenses or other acceptable forms of ID, such as a valid passport, federal government PIV card or U.S. military ID, will be mandatory for air travel beginning on October 1, 2020. Critically important, on October 1, 2020, individuals who are unable to verify their identity will not be permitted to enter the TSA checkpoint and will not be allowed to fly.
For more information and details about how to obtain a REAL ID driver’s license, enhanced license or identification card in New York, and to determine which form of ID is right for you, visit the New York Department of Motor Vehicles website.
TSA also has a one-minute video that provides information about flying with a REAL ID.