A year before deadline, less than half of New Yorkers have Real IDs

New Yorkers have one year left to get new, more secure identification cards required by the federal government.

In hopes of alleviating a potential crush of people flooding DMV offices statewide, Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mark Schroeder said he will deploy teams to airports, state parks and libraries to help people get the new IDs.

“I’m glad, quite frankly, that we have 365 days to go because we are going to continue to really let people know it’s time to go into a DMV and get Real ID compliant,” Schroeder said in an interview.

According to Schroeder, only 7 million New York state residents have so far received the new IDs ahead of the May 7, 2025 deadline. The DMV created a guide to navigate the complex requirements for getting the new IDs. To apply, applicants need documents that prove their name, Social Security number and state of residence.

“Women with a name change, it seems like they have to bring everything but the kitchen sink in,” Schroeder said. “But we tell them what it is [they need] so that they can bring it.”

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Congress approved the Real ID Act, which aimed to make identification documents harder to forge by setting higher standards for the states that issue them. In effect, those without the new IDs will be barred from flying or entering government buildings. Those with US passports, however, can use them.

While New Yorkers can find a list of required documents on the DMV’s website, the documents must be inspected at a DMV office and not online. However, applicants can save trips to the DMV by having their documents pre-screened.

While many DMV offices require appointments to be made online, the DMV is deploying mobile units around the city and Long Island that do not require appointments.

Undocumented New Yorkers cannot apply for a Real ID, but will be able to fly and enter government buildings with other TSA approved identification such as border crossing cards or foreign issued passports.

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