In 2020 the new ID is not mandatory, but it will be required to board domestic flights within the United States, and to enter military bases and certain federal facilities.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, the federal government will require your state driver’s license, permit, or ID card to be “REAL ID compliant” if you wish to use it as identification to board even domestic flights within the U.S.A., or to enter military bases and certain federal facilities. 

The New York Dept. of Motor Vehicles (DMV) began issuing the REAL ID documents Oct. 30, and though not yet required, you can convert to a REAL ID at any time. To get a REAL ID, you will need to go to a DMV Office. You cannot get a REAL ID online, by phone, or through mail. 

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver licenses, permits, and ID cards. The Act also prohibits federal agencies, like the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), from accepting cards for official purposes from states that do not meet these standards.

The DMV expects that all driver licenses, permits, and ID cards will remain acceptable for domestic flights and for access to federal facilities until Oct. 1, 2020. You may also use an Enhanced driver license, permit, or non-driver ID or valid U.S. Passport or other identification acceptable to the federal government.

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You can get a REAL ID license, permit or ID card when you: apply for your first diver’s license; renew, replace, or amend your existing license; or exchange a license from another state. The application process also requires the DMV to take a new photo.

You must bring to the office the following original or certified proof documents: 

• Proof of identity, such as valid license, birth certificate, or passport, with your full first, middle (if applicable), 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. 

• Proof of your date of birth.

• Proof of U.S. citizenship, lawful permanent residency, or temporary lawful status in the U.S.

• Two proofs of New York State residence such as utility bill or mortgage statement (P.O. Box addresses are not acceptable). 

• If the name on your license, permit, or non-driver ID application does not match the name on your identity, you must bring in proof of the cause of your name change (marriage license, divorce decree, adoption, court orders etc.). 

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

Getting a REAL ID is not mandatory and 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, any license, permit, or ID card issued after Oct. 30 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.

The TSA does not currently require children under 18 years old to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. The companion will need acceptable identification. Please visit for more information.