The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) wants to get all New Yorkers ready for the REAL ID system before the clock runs out. Beginning on May 7th, 2025, any New Yorker who is 18 or older and wants to fly anywhere in the US will need a REAL ID or a compliant document like an Enhanced License or a US Passport.

You'll also need one of these if you want to get into some federal buildings in the United States. This was rolled out by Congress in 2005 after it was recommended by the 9/11 Commission. It's a way to beef up security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and IDs.

DMV Commissioner Mark Schroeder wants to make sure you understand the importance of getting your REAL ID sooner rather than later. You don't want to be scrambling at the last minute to get your upgraded ID.

A lot of people (like me) are probably going to wait to get their REAL ID and that could mean the process will move slower. You don’t want to have your travel plans messed up because you didn’t get your REAL ID in time.

To help you out, the DMV has rolled out an online pre-screening process. This way you can submit your application and proof of identity online before going to the DMV. Once you've submitted your papers online or in person, they will let you know if there are any issues and what you have to do next.

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If your license or ID is due for renewal, you can get a REAL ID at no extra cost. But if you want to upgrade before your renewal date, you'll have to pay an additional $12.50. When your application is ready, you'll get an alert to stop by the DMV to finish things up, including getting a new photo taken. Say cheese!

To find out more about the REAL ID or find the DMV office that is closest to you, visit the New York DMV website at dmv.ny.gov. Yes, it's time to get REAL.

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