Despite what some TSA agents claim, New York’s enhanced license meets REAL ID requirements

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — New York State’s enhanced drivers license meets all REAL ID requirements, despite some TSA agents telling Central New Yorker travelers it doesn’t.

Lori Burke, a business traveler from Canastota who’s away 45 of the 52 weeks a year, says she’s meet TSA officers at airports across the country have told her it won’t work when the law takes effect on October 1, 2020.

After September 11, 2001, a commission recommended that the federal government institute a standard for what kind of paperwork validates a person’s identity, reducing the risk of fraudulent IDs.

In New York, both REAL IDs and enhanced licenses require the same type of paperwork to verify one’s identity and will allow a passenger to board a plane.

Burke tells NewsChannel 9’s Andrew Donovan, “They all look at it, they look for the star. They say, ‘No. No. It needs a star.”

The stay they’re looking for is printed in the corner of REAL IDs.

Enhanced licenses, available in five border state, use an American Flag icon instead.

The Madison County Clerk, who oversees the DMV in Wampsville, hears this concern so many times, he’s taken it to New York’s DMV Commissioner.

Clerk Mike Keville tells NewsChannel 9, “He reached out to TSA, then communicated to us that – 100 percent, the enhanced license does meet the federal requirements. It is good for boarding planes and TSA needs to do a better job communicating with their field agents.”

Burke says, “The fear is, next year, when I have my license and coming through a state that doesn’t have the enhanced, they’ll say ‘no you can’t fly.'”

A TSA spokesperson tells NewsChannel 9:

“TSA is aware that some TSA officers in the states where they do not issue enhanced licenses are still getting familiar with the fact that an enhanced ID, which has a US flag and not a star as an indicator, is REAL ID-compliant, and is acceptable now and will be acceptable after October 2020.

TSA officers who work within those five states are familiar with the fact that an enhanced license is REAL ID-compliant.

Job aids have been distributed to TSA officers nationwide and they will continue to receive additional reminders about REAL ID-compliant markings on licenses so that in 10 months when a REAL ID or alternative acceptable ID is presented, they will be well-versed in the many acceptable forms of ID at a checkpoint.”

Lisa Farbstein
Spokesperson, Office of Public Affairs
Transportation Security Administration

The spokesperson says anyone who wants to dispute what their TSA agent says can ask for a supervisor.

Passports also meet REAL ID requirements and might be a good back-up to travel with.

REAL ID is causing a real problem that the TSA has eleven months to prevent.

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