New ID requirements coming; driver's license not enough to fly in 2020

Jul 6, 2018

In a little over two years, a standard driver's license isn’t going to be enough to board a continental flight.

A customer at the NYS DMV office in the Rath Building in downtown Buffalo
Credit WBFO Photo

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles is unveiling a new identification method called “REAL ID.”

As of October 1, 2020, Americans are going to need to have a REAL ID, enhanced license or a passport to fly anywhere within the country. They are encouraging people to upgrade soon, or next time they need a new licence, to avoid unnecessary DMV trips or being blindsided in a couple years.

“I know a lot of people think, ‘Well, October 2020 sounds like a long time away,’ but it’s really not,” said DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Theresa Egan. “And we’ve been really trying to encourage people, especially that have been coming up for renewal cycle time, to take advantage of this opportunity, to get the REAL ID now, so that it doesn’t force them to come back in a second time between now and October 2020.”

As a result of the 9/11 commission, The REAL ID Act is a security effort to ensure that each individual’s license belongs to them.

In-person DMV visits are required to obtain a REAL ID and people should bring in the same proof of identification that’s needed to get a driver license.

A REAL ID costs the same amount as a regular license, compared to the $30 up-charge with the enhanced license.

Unlike an enhanced license, a REAL ID cannot be used as identification to cross the border.

Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns is emphasizing that proper documentation is crucial upon arrival at the DMV.

“Identification as you know if very important in this country, very, very important,” Kearns said. “These are regulations from the federal government and from the state of New York. We’re trying to comply with that. You have to have that proper documentation.”

Proper documentation can include a state-issued license, passport, visa and more. Kearns stresses that original marriage certificates or divorce decrees are needed if there has been a name change.

“The key in preparing for your visit to DMV is going to the website, just it helps you totally prepare for your visit in the terms of the documents that you need to bring,” DMV customer Dave Taillon said.

Take the DMV’s quiz to see which ID is the best fit for you