In case you didn’t watch nearly enough CNBC last year, Mayor de Blasio teamed up with the City Council to launch IDNYC: a municipal identification card program aimed to make it easier to be a New Yorker. Now the card referred to as a “gateway to city services" is the largest of its kind in the country -- and it actually IS a total game changer for your day-to-day life in the city, saving money on just about everything (plus, it’s completely free). Here’s exactly what you need to know about actually getting IDNYC, and what it’ll get you.
What is it?
IDNYC is basically your one-stop-shop card for everything in NYC. In other words, it’s your government-issued ID card (yep, even the cops accept it), nets you access to city buildings (museums, libraries, schools), and can even score you discounts on everything from sporting events and concerts to gyms and groceries.
How to apply
Difficulty level: Medium (but a strong medium)
What you need: Just like anything else that’s government-issued, there’s a lot of paperwork involved. The main thing is obviously that you have to prove you are indeed a New York City resident. And, yes, they will dig into this pretty damn thoroughly by using a points system:
- Three documents proving your identity (passport, visas, etc.) At least one of these has to have a photo/birthdate.
- One document proving your residency (bills, property ownership, etc.)
If you already have a New York state driver’s license, you’re golden; that will wipe all these out with one shot.
Are you a former or current veteran? You require more paperwork, or at least one extra document proving this is indeed the case. If everything checks out, you get a fancy “Veteran” stamped underneath your name, and a pretty decent amount of exclusive perks, including free membership at Intrepid Museum, special access to job training/placement programs, and travel deals on most major airlines/Amtrak.
Where to go: Now, this is where this entire process takes a turn for the dreaded DMV. Once you have all the proof you need to ensure you are in fact a New Yorker, you have to hit up one of the Enrollment Centers in person. They won’t do any of this via mail. Luckily, there are a pretty decent amount of them -- but make sure you make an appointment. Pro tip: you can fill out your application in advance by printing it out here, and you should do that to cut back on the wait time when you actually get there.
What you do when you get there: Appointment or not, you’re probably going to wait a bit. When it is your turn, submit your proof of residency along with your application (which you’ve hopefully already filled out) and get your (probably terrible) photo taken.
They’ll give you back all that paperwork you filled out as soon as the entire ordeal is over, and in two weeks or less, you will have your fancy new IDNYC card waiting in your mailbox. According to the site, you can opt to pick it up at the Enrollment Center if you “don’t have an address or have security concerns about an address appearing on your IDNYC card.”
How much it costs
The card is totally free, but ONLY if you apply during the first year of the program -- meaning you officially have until December 31, 2016.