Is Your Driver’s License REAL ID Compliant?

Time is Running Out.
James Phelps

Due to circumstances resulting from the #coronavirus pandemic and the national emergency declaration, DHS, as directed by President Trump, is extending the REAL ID enforcement deadline.

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The lines are running longer at the New York State DMV locations and the time is getting shorter. You have just about a year left to become REAL ID compliant. The REAL ID Act of 2005, approved by Congress, enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government establishes standards for states to issue federally secure driver licenses. Drivers now have three options: a standard driver’s license, a new REAL ID license or an enhanced driver’s license (EDL).

After Oct. 1, 2020, the federal government will require a REAL ID driver’s license, a U.S. Passport or an EDL to board domestic flights or enter federal installations or military bases. An EDL also will allow you to cross a U.S. border coming from Canada, Mexico and some Caribbean countries via automobile or cruise ship, for example. (It is not acceptable for air travel between these countries; that will still require a passport.) Those without REAL ID or an EDL must always carry additional identification such as a passport. Compared to the requirements for a standard driver’s license, additional documentation is mandatory for obtaining a REAL ID-compliant card. DMV will require proof of Social Security status (such as a Social Security card or federal or state income tax W-2 with full Social Security number), two documents that prove you are New York state resident (such as a current driver’s license, bank statement or utility bill) and proof of identification (a passport or United States birth certificate). Please contact the New York State DMV to confirm you have all the proper documentation before visiting in person to complete your application.

So which type of document is right for you? The New York State DMV offers advice and information at their website: Or, feel free to contact your local AAA Northway office. Make sure you’re ready well in advance of the Oct. 1, 2020 deadline.

Author: James Phelps, President & CEO