The program extends to NYC residents who are not in lawful immigration status, prompting some criticism from conservative commentators including false claims that the ID cards grant voting rights.
Instructions on how to apply for the cards are on the IDNYC website, and include a list of the required documents to prove identity and residence. The application forms are available in over 25 languages, including Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Urdu, and Hebrew. The cards are free for anyone applying in the first year (during 2015), and are valid for 5 years.
Benefits of the card, as listed on the official FAQs, are:
You can use the card to enter all City buildings, such as schools, and access City services. Police officers will accept the IDNYC card as valid identification. This is important because if you do not have identification with an address, in instances where you would otherwise be issued a summons, the police officer will bring you into the police station instead.
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.