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SRLP FAQ: Trans People and Municipal ID (IDNYC) in New York City

Updated August 2017

In 2014, it was announced that New York City would begin to offer IDNYC, a Municipal ID card, thanks to the collaborative work of SRLP, Make the Road New York, the New York Civil Liberties Union, the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), and the Urban Justice Center, among many other community-based organizations. Below are some questions and answers about the IDNYC Municipal ID program.

IDNYC Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can IDNYC, the Municipal ID, help transgender New Yorkers?
IDNYCA: IDNYC can help transgender New Yorkers over the age of 14, who often face obstacles obtaining an ID that affirms their gender identity, by allowing people to self-attest their gender without medical documentation. The IDNYC card can be issued with three options: male, female, or “not designated,” and you merely have to tell them what gender you identify as. The card also permits those who don’t identify with a gender or who identity as a gender besides male and female to have an ID that is a little bit more accurate, which is a good move in the right direction! Having the city provide gender-affirming documentation to our community increases transgender people’s safety and our ability to access employment, housing, and benefits without harassment or violence.

Q: How can I apply for an IDNYC Municipal ID?
A: The IDNYC website provides the following information about the application process:

  1. Confirm you have the correct documents to apply. The IDNYC program uses a point system to determine if applicants are able to prove identity and residency in New York City. You will need three points worth of documents to prove your identity and a one point document to prove your residency. All applicants applying independently must provide photo identification and a document with your date of birth listed. The IDNYC program accepts more than 65 categories of different documents, so to determine what documents you can submit, use the IDNYC Document Calculator. For example, a benefit card with a photo on it counts as three points and then you just need the right letter stating that you live in New York City.
  2. Make an appointment to apply. Make an appointment through the IDNYC website.
  3. Applications will be available at the Enrollment Centers. Applications are available in more than 25 languages.
  4. Find an enrollment center near you. There are enrollment centers across the City. See the full list of enrollment centers or go to the IDNYC map in order to find directions to the nearest enrollment center.
  5. The enrollment process: When you visit an Enrollment Center, you will be asked to submit your application and documents proving your identity and your New York City residency. Your photo will be taken to be included on the card. All of your original documents will be returned to you immediately when the enrollment process is complete. Your IDNYC card will be mailed to your home in 10-14 business days. If you do not have an address or have security concerns about an address appearing on your IDNYC card, you will be able to pick up your card at the Enrollment Center where you applied 15 business days later or can work with a non-profit to have your card sent to that agency.

Q: What are the risks of getting a Municipal ID to transgender people who are low-income, people of color, and immigrants?
A: As of December 7, 2016, it is the IDNYC’s policy to destroy application materials for all new applicants, meaning no sensitive identifying information is kept about any new applicants. As for those who have already applied, (roughly from December 2014 through December 2016) whose documents were saved under the old 2-year rule, a New York State Supreme Court judge ruled in April 2017 that those documents, too, could be destroyed. The IDNYC agency has publicly said that it intended to destroy those documents.

IDNYC does not maintain copies of application materials and we hope that the risks remain very low for any possible law or immigration enforcement action due to obtaining the Municipal ID. Your immigration status does NOT affect your eligibility to receive a card, as long as you live in New York City. The New York City government has done a good job trying to protect its city residents, no matter their immigration status, from having their confidential personal information released to any other government agencies.

Q: What can I do if I have problems getting an ID?
A: Contact SRLP, NYLAG, or another legal provider to assist you. We want to know about your experiences to make sure that trans and gender non-conforming people are getting IDs and the process is as smooth as possible. SRLP and others may be able to represent you on your second attempt to get an ID.

For more resources, see SRLP’s guides, How to Legally Change Your Name in New York City, Cómo cambiar legalmente su nombre, How to Change Your ID Documents, and more.