Do you need to see stars on your New York State drivers license? No, not really, but it could help you long term.

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Why would you need to have a star on your license? The star symbol means that it is a "REAL ID." Do you need it? No, not 100%. Do you have a passport? You can use that instead.

Why and when do you need this thing called a "Real ID?" Pretty much the main reason to get it is if you fly, domestically or if you need to get yourself into a federal building or facility or military base, after May 3, 2023.

Real ID or Enhanced Drivers License?

Confused yet? You can get either one, both will get you on domestic flights, federal buildings, military installations, etc. But the Enhanced Drivers License will also get you into Canada or Mexico, via land crossings without needing a passport.

What do you need to take with you to get either one of these new ID's?

  • Your actual Social Security Card, or a w-2 that has your full Social Security Number on it along with your mailing address, it has to be your physical address, they will not accept a PO BOX.
  • You will also need your current NYS Drivers License along with a utility bill or bank statement, that shows your actually residential address, they will not accept a PO BOX. It is also helpful to have a credit or debit card to show them as well.
  • You will also need to bring your valid passport, if you have one. If you do not, you will need to bring your birth certificate. If you don't have any of that, you will need a permanent resident card, foreign passport or work visa.
  • If all of your documents do not show your same name, you will need to show proof of why your name has changed, like a marriage certificate or divorce decree.
  • Another quick tip, make sure all of your documents are original, they will not accept photocopies.

What is this whole thing going to cost you? Well, that depends on if you are getting a REAL ID, Enhanced ID, if they are non-driver type or can be used for a drivers license as well, plus then it depends on where you live. So if you are up for renewal anyway, look into it.

If you have passport and don't plan on letting it expire, you will probably be ok and don't need this. Just don't let your passport expire.

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