The Real ID

NEW YORK STATE — The deadline for New Yorkers [and all states] to get the new REAL ID, which will be required for domestic airline travel, has been extended yet again. You now have until May 3, 2023 to get a REAL ID. The previous deadline was Oct. 1, 2021.


The REAL ID is a federal program that establishes minimum security requirements for state-issued IDs. The REAL ID Act was passed in 2005, and the original deadline of October 2020 was set by President Donald Trump’s administration after the law was opposed by states under President George W. Bush and not enforced under President Barack Obama. That deadline was then extended by a year due to the coronavirus.

“Protecting the health, safety and security of our communities is our top priority,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. “As our country continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, extending the REAL ID full enforcement deadline will give states needed time to reopen their driver’s licensing operations and ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card.”

Starting May 3, 2023, every American age 18 and older will need a REAL ID-compliant ID or official passport in order to board domestic flights.

In New York, REAL IDs are only available at the DMV. REAL IDs don’t look much different from a standard New York State driver’s license, and the license itself doesn’t have any new information. But in order to receive one, you have to go to the DMV and prove your identity, your New York residency, your lawful presence in the country and your Social Security status. Doing this gets you star icon on your license, which means it is REAL ID compliant.

Getting a REAL ID must be done in-person at the DMV. In order to receive it, you have to bring the following with you:

  • Proof of identity, such as valid license, birth certificate or passport, with your full first, middle and last name. This name will be displayed on your card as required by federal law.
  • Proof of Social Security number or Social Security number ineligibility. If you have a New York State driver’s license or identification card, you must bring your Social Security card or a letter from the Social Security Administration proving your ineligibility to have a Social Security number. If you lost your Social Security card, you must obtain a duplicate before you go to the DMV.
  • Proof of your date of birth.
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship, lawful permanent residency or temporary lawful status in the U.S.
  • Two different proofs of New York State residence such as a utility bill, bank statement or mortgage statement (a post office box not acceptable). This address will be displayed on your card.
  • 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 court- or government-issued proof documenting the event causing your name change, such as a marriage license, divorce decree, adoption or court order document.

There is no extra cost to have a REAL ID license, and it is not mandatory. It is not required to drive, and a regular state ID is still a valid form of identification in most cases. Children under 18 will not need REAL IDs to board airplanes if they are accompanied by an adult.

The REAL ID program is opposed by the ACLU, which says it is a thinly veiled attempt to create a national ID. The ACLU also says the ID will allow the federal government to collect even more information on residents, as well as place a burden on state governments to issue the ID cards.

Cost for a REAL ID

  • There is no additional cost to get a REAL ID. All normal transaction fees still apply.
  • There is an additional $30 fee if you want to apply for an Enhanced Driver License or Enhanced ID Card.

Visit this link to see which is right for you:

Learn more about Enhanced, REAL ID and Standard documents

Getting a REAL ID is not mandatory but is encouraged. A REAL ID is optional and is not needed for the following:

  • Being licensed to drive
  • Voting or registering to vote
  • Entering Federal facilities that do not require a person to present identification
  • Applying for or receiving Federal benefits
  • Accessing health or life-preserving services (including hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement, or constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant’s access to court proceedings)
  • Participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigations

If you decide you do not want a REAL ID or Enhanced document, please be advised that any license, permit or ID card issued after October 30, 2017 will be marked “Not for Federal Purposes”.

If you have a U.S. Passport, it can be used for identification, boarding a plane for domestic and international flights, and entry into a federal building or military base.

It should take about 2 weeks for your new EDL document to arrive in the mail.

To renew your  REAL ID or Enhanced license, follow the same instructions as Renew Driver License. For an Enhanced license there will be an additional fee of $30.00 on top of the normal renewal price.

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