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

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, the New York Civil Liberties Union, 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, 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,” with the only proof of gender required being a statement by the applicant that affirms their gender identity. (This was a key requirement that SRLP and our coalition members fought to win.) Providing gender-affirming documentation increases transgender people’s safety and 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.
  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 identity and residency. Your photo will be taken that will 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.

Q: What are the risks of getting a Municipal ID to transgender people who are low-income, people of color, and immigrants?

A: The agency issuing the ID maintains copies of all application materials for two years. That means the NYPD will be able to access this information simply by requesting a court order, which means that information about vulnerable community members will be available to the police for a period of two years after a person applies. This poses an even higher risk for undocumented transgender people, who are already vulnerable to targeting by police and immigration authorities.

Q: How can we work to remove the two-year documentation hold?

A: The NYPD will report on whether the document hold is necessary when the policy is reviewed in December 2016. We look forward to seeing the rollout of the ID and working with our coalition partners to remove the two-year documentation hold and ensure the protection of our most vulnerable community members.

Q: What can I do if I have problems getting an ID?

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.

Other resources:

See SRLP’s resources and recent news. Learn more about SRLP. Contact SRLP for more information.