Making plans for a fall getaway? Unless you’re one of the nearly 60,000 REAL ID holders in Orange County, you’d better put visiting the Department of Motor Vehicles on your trip to-do list.
That’s because starting Oct. 1, a regular New York State driver license or identification card will not be accepted to board a domestic flight. Travelers will need REAL ID-compliant identification instead.
According to the federal Department of Homeland Security, the REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver licenses, permits and ID cards. Federal agencies, like the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), are prohibited from accepting cards for official purposes from states that do not meet these standards.
Passed by congress in 2005, the legislation requires individuals to present REAL ID-compliant identification to access federal facilities, enter nuclear power plants and board federally regulated commercial aircraft.
DMV Assistant Communications Commissioner Lisa Koumjian said New Yorkers have been coming in to get REAL IDs since they became available in October 2017.
“Statewide, more than 3.5 million New Yorkers have a REAL ID or Enhanced document,” she said. “Since January, we have issued 260,208 Real ID-compliant documents statewide, 4,581 of them in Orange County.”
Available since 2008, Enhanced Driver Licenses, permits or non-driver IDs are already REAL ID-compliant and can be used to board a flight, Koumjian said.
A valid U.S. Passport may also be used.
An Enhanced license is a New York State DMV-issued document that can be used instead of a passport to return to the U.S. by land or sea from Canada, Mexico and some countries in the Caribbean.
Normal transaction fees apply, and there is no additional cost to get a REAL ID.
There is an additional $30 fee for an Enhanced Driver License or ID card, according to the department.
As the deadline gets closer, Koumjian said the department is anticipating an increase in customers looking to get a REAL ID.
“We have adjusted staffing and expanded hours to handle the increased demand,” she said. “There is at least one DMV office in every county of the state that can process REAL ID transactions.”
According to the department, a REAL ID cannot be obtained online, over the phone or through the mail and requires a visit to a DMV office location.
Reservations for REAL ID appointments can be made at https://dmv.ny.gov/offices/make-reservation-visit-dmv-office.