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How do I get a New York ENHANCED driver’s license or Real ID and what’s different about them?

The REAL ID and ENHANCED ID have been a long time coming. This new identification standard started its winding road in 2005, the year congress passed the REAL ID Act. The basic idea of the REAL ID Act was to make IDs more secure and more consistent across states. It was created because the 9/11 Commission recommended that the Federal Government be more discerning about what kind of identification they allowed for entering government buildings, military bases, or for plane travel.

When Do You Need the REAL ID or ENHANCED License?

REAL ID can be used for boarding airplanes after 2023

The deadline to have the REAL ID or ENHANCED ID to board a domestic flight has been extended to May 3, 2023. After that time, you may no longer use a standard ID or a standard driver’s license to board a plane.

The original deadline was October 1, 2020 but due to COVID-19 that date has been extended until May 3, 2023.

What is the Difference Between ENHANCED ID and REAL ID?

There is a subtle difference between the ENHANCED ID and the REAL ID. The ENHANCED ID allows cardholders to cross land or sea borders with Canada, Mexico, and some places in the Caribbean without a passport. The REAL ID does not allow this and would require a passport to enter into and come back from Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

How Do I Get One?

The New York DMV requires an appointment/reservation for all transactions that cannot be done online. Getting a REAL ID or an ENHANCED ID requires making an appointment with the DMV to go in and present your personal identification documents for review. Keep in mind that renewing ENHANCED driver’s licenses or REAL IDs is more costly than renewing a standard driver’s license.

What Documents Do I Need?

  1. Proof of Identity & Full Name (such as an existing driver’s license, a passport, or birth certificate)
  2. Proof of Social Security Number (such as a social security card or a W2 with the whole social security number on it; you may also provide a letter, dated within 30 days of your visit to the DMV, from the Social Security Administration stating that you are ineligible for a social security number)
  3. Proof of Birthdate (such as your existing license, a passport, or birth certificate)
  4. Proof of U.S. Citizenship, or lawful permanent residency, or temporary lawful status in the U.S. (U.S. passport or Passport card, certificate of naturalization or citizenship, birth certificate, or certified copy of a report of being born abroad; also accepted are foreign passport, unexpired permanent resident card, employment authorization card, etc.)
  5. Two different proofs of being a resident of New York (such as a bank statement, mortgage statement, utility bill, a current license or ID with an address on it, etc.)
  6. Proof of Name change, if applicable (marriage license, divorce decree, adoption documents, court order documents, etc.)

Schedule a DMV Appointment to Change Your Driver’s License Class

A new photo will be taken at the time you present your documents. You will also need to submit to a vision screening at that time as well.

If you are still unsure about what documents to bring there is a handy document guide on the DMV website that will help you pinpoint exactly which documents you need to bring.

So that is it! Make an appointment, grab your documents, your glasses (if you need them), and head over to your local DMV to switch to an ENHANCED or REAL ID today!

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