I take absolutely no pleasure in reporting that many of you may need to book a DMV appointment in the near-to-middle future, because that nasty REAL ID ultimatum has resurfaced and the TSA means business this time.

"But I already have a real ID," I know you are muttering to yourself right now, because I was just muttering the very same thing. "I am sure it's a real ID because I'm holding it in my hand and furthermore, the horrible trip[s] I had to make to the DMV to get it will stay seared inside my skull until the day I die."

Ha ha well, if that shit doesn't have a star in the top right hand corner (as seen above) or a flag in the bottom right hand corner (as seen below), sorry but it's not real enough for our ever-vigilant Transportation Security Administration! Starting on October 1st, 2020, the TSA will require more concrete proof of your citizenship/residency/actual allegiance before it lets you on a domestic flight.

How will they know you're a True Patriot? Well, your New York driver's license or state ID will feature one of the aforementioned markers, depending on whether you would like to upgrade to a star-spangled REAL ID (for the standard $9-$13 fee tacked onto state IDs or for the cost of a driver's license), or to a flag-adorned Enhanced Driver License. The latter will cost you an extra $30, but will allow you to traverse our borders with Canada and Mexico (plus parts of the Caribbean!) without a passport. And speaking of passports, yours will still get you on domestic flights, provided you're the kind of person who will remember to bring it with you when flying to another state.

An Enhanced Drivers License. (NY DMV)

None of this should surprise you, because it's been coming down the pipe for well over a decade. In 2005, the Department of Homeland Security's Real ID Act compelled U.S. travelers to furnish proof of citizenship or residency when flying between the states. People living in five delinquent locations with ID cards that lacked sufficient security features—New York, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and American Samoa—would need to get new licenses or ID cards to meet the DHS's demands before 2016.

Understanding that the DMV is its own special and specific hell, our overlords pushed the deadline back to 2018. New York also secured an extension, which is why you now have until 2020 to get your act together.

With the deadline still 18 months away, you may wonder why we're bringing it up now. The TSA, aware that you plan to keep dragging your feet on this until the last possible minute, launched a PLEASE PUT THE REAL ID ON YOUR RADAR BECAUSE IT'S ACTUALLY HAPPENING THIS TIME campaign this month. You'll begin seeing informative signage at the airport, reminding you that ID requirements for entry onto airplanes and military bases will soon become more stringent.

And without knowing exactly how many people will want to upgrade to the Real and Enhanced IDs (you can still use your regular NY State license for non-air travel purposes), we cannot predict what kind of demand the DMV will be facing in advance of the October 2020 start date. Given that they always seem overbooked, it seems prudent to me to get on this quickly and just make the dang DMV appointment next time one becomes available. Unfortunately I will see you there.