ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Starting May 3rd, 2023, a standard license or non-driver ID will no longer be accepted to fly within the U.S.

Although the deadline is about a year, The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) urges New Yorkers to apply for a REAL ID or Enhanced ID now to avoid the last-minute rush next year. 

“If you wait to get the REAL ID closer to the deadline it’s going to get packed… It’s stressful for the customer, and for the staff here,” said Janice Farwell, the supervisor at Chemung County DMV. “Less time in the DMV is always good right?”

An Enhanced ID costs $30 extra and can be used as identification when returning to the United States by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, and some countries in the Caribbean. NY State DMV Commissioner, Mark Schroeder, says an Enhanced ID would especially benefit those who live in Upstate New York, crossing the border into Canada.

“A lot of people that I know, really don’t like to use their passport. So the Enhanced driver’s license is very convenient to go over the Peace Bridge, that’s just one example,” said Schroeder.

New Yorkers whose license or ID is up for renewal now can get a REAL ID at no additional cost to the renewal fee, and those seeking to upgrade now when not up for renewal pay an extra $12.50. In addition to the REAL ID, which is also needed to enter some federal buildings, the DMV offers an Enhanced ID which meets federal REAL ID standards.

“We don’t want people from New York State to want to visit grandma in Fort Lauderdale and not be able to go because they didn’t know they had to have a REAL ID or Enhanced driver’s license,” said Schroeder.

A passport is also acceptable as a REAL ID-compliant document.

To help inform New Yorkers about the federal requirements to get a REAL or Enhanced ID, the DMV also announced that it would be making staff available in airports throughout New York State.

The federal REAL ID Act requires customers applying for a REAL ID or Enhanced ID to visit a DMV office to prove who they are and to have a new photograph taken. Many DMV offices require customers to make a reservation, which customers can do online at dmv.ny.gov/offices/.

Before going to the DMV, New Yorkers are encouraged to use the DMV’s document guide to help determine what documents they need to bring to the office. The guide, which takes just minutes to complete, asks customers a series of short, simple questions to help them determine what proofs of identification and residency they need to bring. Only original documents, or certified copies of certain documents, will be accepted.

DMV also issued guidance to help customers avoid the top 5 most common mistakes people make when seeking to get a REAL ID. One of the important reminders is to provide documentation if your name has changed.