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Jun 24, 2021 | Rommel H. Ojeda

REAL ID Pushed Back: The New Deadline For Federal Identification and How to Get One

A federally compliant REAL ID will be required after May 2025 to board domestic flights or enter federal buildings. We explain how to get one

The federal government has extended the deadline to get a REAL ID. Residents now have until May 2025, not May 2023, to be compliant. Without a REAL ID, residents cannot fly domestically or enter federal buildings.

A REAL ID is a state DMV-issued driver’s license, learner permit or non-driver ID that is federally compliant. Here we list information regarding its appointment requirements, cost, and how to get one.

It was part of the REAL ID Act of 2005, which “established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.”

Originally, its compliance was set to be implemented in October 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In December 2022, the deadline was extended again and it is now May 2025.

How Do REAL IDs Differ From Other IDs?

There are three types of IDs that you can apply for: Standard ID, REAL ID, and Enhanced ID.  All three IDs can be used for photo identification and proof of address. These are the main differences between the three:

From the New York Department of Motor Vehicles

The price for the REAL ID and Standard ID are the same (between $6.50 to $13.00). Enhanced IDs cost $30.00 more. 

Also read: IDNYC card: What Is, How to Apply and Its Benefits

Who Can Apply for a REAL ID?

To apply one must show proof of U.S. citizenship, lawful permanent residency or temporary lawful status in the U.S. Undocumented New Yorkers are not eligible to apply for it. 

New York and New Jersey allows people without a status to apply for a standard driver’s license, which can be used for driving and identification purposes but not to travel domestically after May 2025. 

How to Apply:

To apply you will need to fill out form MV44, and have the following documentation to prove your identity, status and your residency. You will need to make an appointment online via your state’s DMV.

  • Proof of identity: such as a valid license, birth certificate or passport
  • Proof of Social Security number or Social Security number ineligibility
  • Proof of your date of birth.
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship, lawful permanent residency or temporary lawful status in the U.S.
  • Two different pieces of proof of New York State residence such as a utility bill, bank statement or mortgage statement (P.O. Box not acceptable). This address will be displayed on your card. 
  • If the name on your license, permit, or non-driver ID application does not match the name on your identity, lawful status, and social security documents you must bring court or government issued documents that show the event causing your name change such as a marriage license, divorce decree, adoption, or court ordered document. 

Frequent Questions About REAL ID

How do I know if my license or identification card is REAL ID compliant?

REAL IDs will have a star at the top corner. This differs from a non compliant ID which usually lists “not valid for federal purposes.”

If I do not have a federally compliant ID can I use a foreign passport to travel domestically? 

Yes. Foreign government-issued passports will still be accepted for traveling domestically. 

I have DACA, can I get it?

Yes. DACA recipients can get a federal complaint ID, if they have an Employment Authorization Card (I-688B or I-766) with photo, accompanied by documentation approved by Homeland Security (e.g., I-797)  (link)

Also read: DACA program eligibility and requirements

We want to make it easier for our audience to understand the U.S. immigration system. If you want to know more about different visa types and immigration terms, please check our library here.

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