How To Get An ID From New York City

By Elizabeth Elizalde

New York City’s new  municipal identification program for residents of the five boroughs comes with solid benefits. Mayor Bill de Blasio said banks, credit unions and some other financial institutions will accept the card, called IDNYC, as a valid form of ID.

The city created IDNYC to provide immigrants, and others, with a legal form of identification and the Mayor expects hundreds of thousands of people will get a big boost from the opportunity. At a news conference to launch the card he said, “I don’t care if they happen to be an American citizen or if they happen not to be-it’s good to have ID.”


Because you can use one of the  five major libraries to apply for a card, you also get a bonus benefit: you can get a library card that gives you access in every public library in the city.

In addition to library privileges, the card allows you to present legal ID to an employer, gets you discounts at museums, and cultural activities and some city tourist attractions. And that makes the card appealing to a wide range of New Yorkers.

“I’m applying as well as considering that it gives me access to resources of education, museums and cultural institutions,” Duke Nagrampa, a recent college graduate, told us. When we put out the word about the card on Facebook, David Rosenberg messaged, “I’m probably going to sign for one, if only because it’s a good thing to have.”

Here’s how to get an ID from New York City that will include your photo and date of birth.

  1. You can apply for the free card if you are fourteen or older and you can use IDNYC  for five years.

2. Go online to or call 311.

3. You can make an appointment for the closest enrollment center near you.

4. If you go to an enrollment center, a staffer there can help you make an appointment. But going online or calling seems like a better bet.

You can find applications in 25 languages at the libraries and twelve permanent enrollment centers across the five boroughs.

Enrollment Centers: 

1. Brooklyn Public Library branch on Grand Army Plaza, the Queens branches in Flushing and Jamaica, the Bronx Library Center on East Kingsbridge Road and the Mid-Manhattan branch, or at Make The Road, 92-10 Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights; Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union, 1112 St. Nicholas Avenue, Manhattan; or at one of the city businesses centers. 

What You Need To Bring:

  1. You need to provide proof of your identity and proof that you live in New York City.
  2. You can use foreign passports, consular identification cards, foreign birth certificates, military identification, Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, and U.S. high school diplomas and U.S. voter registration cards. You can use an expired passport, as long as it isn’t more than three years out of date.
  3. To prove that you live in the city, you can use New York City cable, phone or utility bills, bank statements, and residential leases.
  4. If you are homeless you still will be able to get a card. You will apparently have some flexibility with what you can show.
  5. Once the enrollment center verifies the document, they will take your picture and you should get the card in the mail within 10 to 14 days.

Council member Carlos Menchaca, the council’s first Mexican-American member, proposed the idea of the card last year.  He says, “The IDNYC program continues to push the boundaries of possibility as it relates to government enfranchisement of local communities.”

City council members who endorsed the idea hope that New Yorkers will take advantage of the chance to sign up and use IDNYC at  museums and other attractions including the Bronx Zoo.

“The benefits attached to the IDNYC card are spectacular and also include a free one-year membership to 33 cultural institutions from around the city. All New Yorkers should hurry up and get an IDNYC card now!” said Council Member Daniel Dromm.

You can get more information here:



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Barbara Nevins Taylor

As the winner of 22 Emmy Awards and a slew of journalism honors and awards, I created to give you the straight story about complicated stuff. Tell us what you want to know and we'll get you the answers.