Clearing Driver’s License Rumors

To The Reader’s Forum:

I would like to clear up rumors and misinformation that has been circulating about Real ID compliant driver’s licenses. I have received many inquiries from county residents about information that they heard on news broadcasts and from TSA agents at the airport.

Beginning in October 2020 you will need either a Real ID compliant license or a passport to board an airplane for a domestic flight. As always, a passport will be required for flights out of the country.

New York State now issues three different classes of driver’s license. The standard license that we have had for years will allow one to drive a motor vehicle and nothing else. A Real ID license will allow you to drive as well as fly domestically and enter some federal buildings. An Enhanced driver’s license will allow you to drive, fly domestically, enter a federal building and cross the border by car into Canada and Mexico.

There are five states that offer an enhanced driver’s license, including New York and despite what many have been told by TSA agents at the airport, enhanced driver’s licenses are Real ID compliant. I have spoken to the offices of both Governor Cuomo and Senator Schumer and I was assured that the TSA has admitted that their agents are giving incorrect information and are in need of better training so that they dispense correct information concerning Real ID compliant licenses.

Any county residents that normally fly domestically should go to the DMV and upgrade their license to a Real ID compliant license now, and not wait until the deadline. Depending on the situation, it can take several months before you have the new license in your possession.

To find out what documents you will need to get a Real ID compliant license, go to the NYS DMV website at dmv.ny.govfor a listing.

If your license is up for renewal within the next yearyou pay only the renewal fee, there is no charge for the upgrade to Real ID but a $30 charge if you opt for the enhanced license. If you have more than a year before renewal, there is an upgrade charge of $12.50 for either license plus the $30 if you upgrade to the enhanced license.

Larry Barmore


Chautauqua County Clerk


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