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Here's When NY Travelers Will Need REAL ID To Fly Domestically

New Yorkers will soon need a REAL ID or enhanced drivers license to board domestic flights.
New Yorkers will soon need a REAL ID or enhanced drivers license to board domestic flights. Photo Credit: TSA

Travelers in New York are running out of time to “get real” before needing a new license to board domestic flights in the US.

In less than a year, as of May 3, 2023, standard licenses would no longer make the cut for those looking to travel, requiring them to register for a REAL ID to board planes.

There are now three different forms of driver’s license or New York State identification, a standard - which will not be enough to board a domestic flight alone come May next year - enhanced, or the REAL ID license, which is in coordination with a new law aimed to increase security to travelers.

The REAL ID will feature a star in the corner of the license. The REAL ID will also become the standard for entering federal facilities. The requirements came following recommendations by the 9/11 Commission.

In order to obtain a REAL ID, one must go in person to the DMV with proof of identity and proof of New York State residency. There is no additional fee. 

There is a $30 fee to get an enhanced license, which can be used in lieu of a passport to enter Canada, Mexico, and some Caribbean countries by land or sea.

New York DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder said that to help inform New Yorkers about the May 3, 2023 deadline, they will be making staff available in airports throughout New York State beginning next week. 

Informational tables will also be set up at Albany International Airport, Syracuse Hancock International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, and Long Island MacArthur Airport at peak travel times

According to a previous statement from the Department of Homeland Security, they have been “working with states for years around REAL ID compliance and have provided technical assistance, grants, and other support to them.

"(They) are also providing advance notice of implementation with respect to domestic air travel to allow ample time for all states to achieve compliance, or for potential air travelers to acquire an alternate form of ID if their state does not comply with REAL ID.”

If a traveler cannot provide a REAL ID, they will not be permitted through security checkpoints, officials noted.

"The time to get a REAL ID or Enhanced ID is now rather than waiting until the last minute,” Schroeder said. “I encourage customers to visit our website, social media pages, or talk to our staff at the airports to find out what they need to apply for a REAL ID or Enhanced ID so they can be successful on their first visit to a DMV office.”

Complete details about the REAL ID from the DMV can be found here.

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