Though many New Yorkers can go years without using their driver’s licenses to, well, legally drive, the ID serves an important function for those of us who like drinking and not-driving and passing through airport security. Unfortunately, due to a Department of Homeland Security mandate, those colorful Empire State IDs might not be accepted when you finally make it to the front of the line at JFK come 2016.
According to the REAL ID act of 2005, state driver’s licences can only be administered to those with proof of citizenship or legal residency in order to be recognized for air travel. States and territories had until 2016 to update their requirements, but four rebel states—including New York—and American Samoa kept putting off the change, claiming they were busy and they’d get to that later. Now that later is only 3 months away though the Department of Motor Vehicles is scrambling for a solution.
While your licence will likely be fine for at least some months into the new year, there is a worst case scenario where the government could require you to bring your passport for domestic flights starting January 1st. Even if the state is given a grace period for additional time, we’ll likely have to brave even more horrific lines than usual at the DMV, with birth certificates, green cards or other important forms, in hand for updated licences before boarding that flight to vacation. We suggest choosing some place warm to travel to: Fantasizing about Florida might make the wait times shorter.