ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Now is the perfect time to check whether you have a star or a U.S. flag on your New York driver’s license. If not, there’s still time to get a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, but time is running out so you better obtain one sooner, rather than later.
New York residents who want to board an airplane for a domestic flight will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license starting this October. If their driver’s license is not REAL ID-compliant, travelers will need another form of approved identification, such as an enhanced driver’s license or a passport, to board their domestic flight or enter a secure federal facility or military base. The REAL ID-compliant driver’s license and identification card have a small star in the upper right corner to indicate they meet federal regulations that establish minimum security standards. The enhanced driver’s license has a U.S. flag on it.
The upgraded REAL IDs will be required for domestic flights starting Oct. 1. Transportation Security Administration officers who staff the ticket document checking station at airports will not allow travelers into the checkpoint without a REAL ID-compliant license or another form of acceptable ID starting in October, because of a federal law (The REAL ID Act of 2005) that mandates that a REAL ID is needed for federal purposes. There are approximately 15 other acceptable forms of ID.
“REAL ID is a coordinated effort by the federal government to improve the reliability and accuracy of driver licenses and identification cards across the country,” said TSA’s Upstate New York Federal Security Director Bart R. Johnson. “From our perspective at TSA, REAL ID gives us another important tool in our security tool box. It improves the reliability and accuracy of state-issued identification documents and most importantly prevents and deters terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.”
“Do yourself a favor and apply for a REAL ID sooner rather than later, because if you wait until later this spring or summer you’re more likely to be caught up in the rush to get a REAL ID that could result in long wait times at the DMV,” Johnson said.
The upgraded REAL IDs will be required starting this October and 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-compliant license or they can opt to keep their older standard driver’s license. However, a standard credential—without the star or flag—will not be valid to board a flight or to access secure federal facilities, including military bases and some federal offices.
“I appreciate TSA’s partnership in helping ensure Monroe County residents are ready when REAL ID requirements take effect in October,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “Our county is home to hundreds of thousands of students, businesspeople, and travelers who use our airport to access opportunities throughout our country. Working together, federal, state and local governments all have a crucial role in ensuring our constituents are aware of the new law and, if necessary, can upgrade to a REAL ID-compliant document well before the deadline.”
To get the REAL ID-compliant license, 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, your social security card and a current driver’s license if you are applying to exchange one issued by another U.S. state.
TSA has posted signs at airports nationwide to remind people that REAL ID-compliant licenses or other acceptable forms of ID, such as an enhanced license, valid passport, federal government PIV card or U.S. military ID will soon be mandatory. Critically important, starting Oct. 1, individuals who are unable to verify their identity will not be permitted to enter the TSA checkpoint and will not be allowed to fly. TSA officers also are providing verbal advisements to passengers to remind them about REAL ID.
For more information and details about how to obtain a REAL ID-compliant 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 web site.
TSA also has a one-minute video that provides information about flying with a REAL ID.