Articles & Alerts

Getting Ready for New York’s New License

September 27, 2019

Traveling is about to become trickier for New Yorkers unless they update their driver’s license.

Starting on October 1, 2020, New Yorkers will need either a REAL or Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) to board an airplane or enter certain government buildings, unless they travel with a passport even on domestic flights. While some license updates can be handled online or through the mail, New Yorkers will have to appear at the Department of Motor Vehicles with several identification documents in hand to get their REAL or EDL.

Both the REAL and EDL will allow New Yorkers to hop on a plane, but many will probably want to opt for the Enhanced Driver’s License, which also allows for travel to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

With the deadline looming, many are finding that even express license centers are overloaded, with wait times lasting more than two hours, even for those with an appointment. And although the state has been publicizing the change for some time, DMV staff is not always equipped to ask if drivers wish to update their license to the higher standard when processing routine requests, leaving some motorists thinking they’ve left with an Enhanced Driver’s License when in fact, they just have the standard, non-federal license.

To alleviate some of the stress, would-be travelers should try to renew their license sooner rather than later and be equipped with the necessary documentation to prevent any unnecessary difficulties. For starters, the DMV will request proof of social security number — typically in the form of the signed original social security card or W-2.

Proof of current NY residency status will also be required. This can be accomplished by showing two items, one of which can be the current NY driver’s license, provided the address is up-to-date. Additionally, a bank statement, utility bill, or pay stub will need to be provided. If using two statements to verify proof of residency, the documents must be from different institutions. The first and last name of the applicant must appear on the document.

Finally, the DMV will request proof of identification, which can be a passport, birth certificate or valid employment authorization card.

It is worth noting that all names on the documents must be the same. If someone has a name change for marriage or some other reason, they will need to provide additional documentation to link the names together, such as a marriage license.

For more information, contact your Anchin Relationship Partner or a member of Anchin Private Client at 212.840.3456 or [email protected].