New Yorkers Need a Star or Flag to Fly

TSA airport screening requires enhanced ID
TSA approved drivers license
New York State REAL ID
New York (Vax Before Travel)

Air travelers who want to board an airplane in New York will soon need a star or flag on their state driver's license.

A star inside a black circle in the upper right corner indicates that the license is a REAL ID-compliant credential approved to board a flight or enter a secure federal facility.

Additionally, New York (NY) state-enhanced IDs have a flag in the corner, which is also valid for boarding a flight.

"Travelers are encouraged to obtain a state-issued REAL ID to meet the May 3, 2023 deadline, to allow you to fly within the U.S. seamlessly with an ID you are accustomed to carrying in your everyday life," commented Bart R. Johnson, TSA's Federal Security Director for Binghamton and 13 other airports across NY, in a press release on October 25, 2022.

"Otherwise, you will need to use a valid U.S. passport or another federally approved valid form of identification when you walk up to the TSA document checking podium."

"The consequence for not having a valid ID is that you won't be permitted to board your flight."

These TSA changes may impact millions of New York City and New Jersey air travelers.

In 2021, the Port Authority of NY & NJ's four commercial airports – John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, 
LaGuardia and New York Stewart International – served more than 75.5 million air passengers.

Adult airline passengers 18 and older must show valid identification at the airport checkpoint to travel.

New Yorkers have three ID options from the state's Department of Motor Vehicles.

They can get an enhanced ID, a REAL ID, or a standard ID.

The enhanced ID and REAL ID comply with the REAL ID laws. However, the standard driver's license is not.

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles offers an online tool to help residents determine which ID is right for them.

An enhanced ID can be used instead of a passport to return to the U.S. by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, and some countries in the Caribbean, although it is not acceptable for air travel between these countries.

However, an enhanced ID is REAL ID-compliant and is accepted to board a domestic flight.

"The good news is that you do not have to wait to get a REAL ID or Enhanced ID," added Mark J.F. Schroeder, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). 

"You can get one now at your local DMV office."

To get an enhanced license or a REAL ID-compliant license, individuals will need the required documents, including one proof of identity, one proof of legal presence, two proofs of state residency, one proof of your Social Security number (if you've been issued one) and a current driver's license if you are applying to exchange one issued by another U.S. state.

Furthermore, the TSA has identified acceptable alternate identification for use in special circumstances at the security checkpoint.

Regarding pandemic requirements, as of October 26, 2022, the NY state website says:

  • Masks are optional in airports and on public transit.
  • All travelers, domestic and international, should continue to follow all U.S. CDC travel requirements.

And the CDC has not issued travel alerts regarding NY's poliovirus announcements

On September 28, 2022, a 'Declaration of an Imminent Threat to Public Health for poliovirus' was issued by Mary T. Bassett, M.D., M.P.H. Commissioner of Health, NY.

Vax-Before-Travel publishes travel news manually curated for travelers.

Article by
Donald Hackett