You may be planning your upcoming holiday travel, but will you still be able to fly using your New York State ID? New York State certainly gets busy around the holidays when it comes to travel since we have one of the busiest airports in the country located here. John F. Kennedy International Airport serves approximately 31 million passengers per year.

Holiday Travel Expected To Increase From Last Year
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Can Passengers Flying Out Of New York Still Use Their Driver's License Or State ID?

The answer is yes, but for a limited time. If you only have your New York-issued license or identification card, you should be OK for holiday travel this year. However, the deadline for getting a REAL ID is quickly approaching.  For instance, if you are booking a summer kick-off vacation for Memorial Day weekend, you will NOT be able to travel using your regular New York State ID. You will need to have your REAL ID by May 3, 2023.

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash
Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

The deadline for U.S. citizens to get a REAL ID or enhanced ID is May 3, 2023, just over 6 months from today. The New York Department of Motor Vehicles is encouraging people to get their REAL IDs sooner, rather than later. REAL IDs will be required for domestic flights, to enter federal buildings and military bases.

The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government 'set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.' The Act established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits certain federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. ~ Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Enhanced IDs issued by the state, which will cost $30 in addition to transaction fees, will be allowed in place of REAL IDs to board domestic flights. REAL IDs cost the same as a standard license when yours is up for renewal or $12.50 if you upgrade before the renewal date.

The Enhanced ID is also acceptable for REAL ID purposes. It costs $30 more than a standard license or REAL ID but has added benefit of enabling you to use it to return to the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, and some Caribbean countries.

You can compare the features of each of the IDs here, so you can choose which is right for your needs. A passport can be used for travel in place of a REAL ID.

In order to upgrade, you will need to provide the following proof to the DMV:

- Social Security status (There are options that you can provide as proof)
- 2 documents that provide proof of NY State Residency (NY State driver's license, permit, or non-driver ID, bank statement, utility bill, U.S. high school photo ID and report card, U.S. pay stub)
- Proof of name including, but not limited to a valid U.S. Passport, U.S. government-issued birth certificate, Permanent Resident Card I-551

You can go through the process and get all of the proof options here.

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