Since its inception nearly four years ago, IDNYC has seen more than 1.2 million New Yorkers enroll for the free card, making it the largest local identification program in the nation. And now, Mayor de Blasio has announced three updates that will even further expand the program’s reach–the minimum age has been lowered from 14 to 10, students living in local college housing can now apply, and technological updates allow the application system to pull from existing city agency records to streamline the process.
Photo via NYC Mayor’s Office/Flickr
The card is best known for offering free or discounted membership to museums and cultural institutions, including top spots like the Metropolitan Opera and MoMA, along with entertainments perks for things such as Zipcar and the Chelsea Piers Golf Club.
But as 6sqft previously explained:
IDNYC was initially introduced in 2015 by Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito as a way to “give everyone equal access to all the services and cultural offerings that come with living in New York,” particularly those who may otherwise have a difficult time obtaining a government-issued ID, such as the homeless, youth, elderly, undocumented immigrants, and the formerly incarcerated. To that end, the ID serves as a library card and can be used to open a bank or credit account.
Just last month, however, the Times took a closer look at the intricacies of using IDNYC as an undocumented immigrant. While they are an accepted form of ID with the NYPD, outside of the city, as was the case in two recent incidents, they’re not valid with federal agencies, to board a plane, or with other police departments. In response, Mayor de Blasio said, “If anyone is on a military base, and any individual there chooses to act on the fact that they’re undocumented, that has nothing to do with what kind of ID they’re carrying. That’s going to happen whether they’re carrying a local ID, a state ID, whatever kind of ID.”
To that end, the Mayor has repeatedly said that he will not release any IDNYC data to the federal government and that he would go as far as to delete all applicant data. Currently, the city doesn’t hold on to any original application documents and copies of the documents from older applications get destroyed after two years.
By lowering the submission age and allowing university residency documents to be used in the application process, the city says that hundreds of thousands more New Yorkers will be able to apply for the card.
Since NYC residents must provide documents “proving identity and residency,” the new technological updates will help ” some applicants who otherwise may not have sufficient documentation to apply” by utilizing existing records from the Department of Homeless Services, the Human Resources Administration, the Department of Finance, and the New York City Housing Authority.
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