Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Empire Pass - FAQ

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Is it too late to buy an Empire Pass?

For your convenience, Empire Passes are sold throughout the season. Once purchased, all sales are final.

When does the Empire Pass Card expire?

Empire Pass Cards expire December 31st of the final year for which they were purchased.
Lifetime Empire Passes do not expire.

What is the benefit of having an Empire Pass Card?

  • The new Empire Pass Card can be easily shared within a family as long as the card is in the vehicle. If you do not have your card upon entry, you will have to pay the entrance and this will not be refundable.
  • In addition to being usable at traditional entrance booths, the Empire Pass Card will also be usable at facilities with automated entrances.
  • Leased vehicles drivers will not need to replace their Empire Pass Card when exchanging vehicles.
  • Drivers selling vehicles will not have to replace their Empire Pass Card.

What type of technology does the Empire Pass Card contain? Does it store any personal information?

The Empire Pass Card contains an embedded radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip. This technology allows the card to be scanned and accepted at facilities with automated pay stations and/or scanners used by staff. The RFID chip does not contain any personal information. It stores only the card's 6-digit serial number, and whether the card is in an active or inactive status.

How many Empire Pass cards will I receive with one annual Empire Pass Card purchase?

Since the Empire Pass Card is shareable among the family, one card will be issued for each purchase. If additional cards are needed, they must be purchased at full price.

Can I use the Empire Pass Card to gain facility entrance for multiple vehicles at the same time?

The Empire Pass is usable for one vehicle (including motorcycles) entrance fee at a time. It cannot be used for other vehicles entering the park with that vehicle/shortly after that vehicle has entered.

Is the Empire Pass renewable?

YES! Don't toss your Empire Pass card at the end of the season We have the technology that will allow the Empire Pass cards to be renewed for the 2019 season and each year after.

Why should I renew my pass?

Savings and convenience! There is a renewal discount of $10 off the regular price of $80. Also, you will no longer need to wait for the pass to be mailed to you or wait in line at the park.
Online ONLY - Take advantage of the renewal discount from mid-November to March 31st!

How do I renew my pass?

Renewals can only be done from our website. From our website NYS PARKS - Empire Passport, find the "Renew My Pass" button. Enter your Empire Pass card number (located at the bottom left of the card) and your email address. Follow the instructions for 1, 3 or 5 renewals and make your payment. Card becomes activated 24-48hrs after purchase.

I purchased a multi-year Empire Pass, will I still receive a new card?

No, you will no longer need to wait for your card to be mailed each year. Your card will be active until December 31st of the last year of your multi- year purchase. When your multi-year pass expires after the allotted time, you can simply renew the card again.

How do I know if my pass is due to expire?

Follow this link to check on your current pass(es). Check Pass Expiration Date

How do I upgrade my current annual, 3-year or 5-year Empire Pass for a longer-term Empire Pass?

Upgrades are available for purchase. Those who wish to upgrade after August 1st are advised to wait until the following year's Empire Pass is available for sale and upgrade/purchase at that time. Contact the Empire Pass office at 518-474-0458 for information.

I want to attach my Empire Pass Card to a lanyard/keychain/etc. Can I puncture a hole in the Empire Pass Card?

Do not puncture a hole in the Empire Pass Card. Puncturing a hole will destroy the technology inside of the card, and the card will become unusable. Damaged cards are subject to a replacement fee.

How do I replace an Empire Pass Card that is lost, stolen, damaged, destroyed?

Empire Pass Card replacement:

If the Empire Pass Card is lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, it is replaceable with a $30 fee payable by credit card, check, money order, or cash (in person only). This fee is in place due to the technology of the card and the cost of replacing it. This fee cannot be waived.

Lost, damaged or stolen cards will be deactivated when the replacement card is issued.

A replacement may be ordered over the phone, by mail or issued in person at the facility. All require the following:

  • A completed Empire Pass Replacement Request form or a letter requesting replacement and explaining the circumstances.
  • The damaged or destroyed pass or, if the pass was lost, verification of the original pass purchase.
  • NOTE: If in the event the original pass is found after the purchase of a replacement, we will not refund the replacement fee. The original pass will have been deactivated, and is no longer usable.

Is my online order confirmation letter acceptable for admission?

No, the online order confirmation letter is not acceptable for admission. Only the Empire Pass Card, or the NY Driver License or Non-Driver ID with the Lifetime Empire Pass icon will provide the Empire Pass vehicle entry.
For renewals, card activation occurs 24-48 hours after purchase. Please purchase well in advance of your park visit to avoid issue.

How do I use the Empire Pass with a motorcycle or boat?

The Empire Pass Card will need to be presented when a vehicle use fee is required, just as with other passenger vehicles. Each boat or motorcycle must present their own pass upon entry.

What if I own a pick-up truck with commercial plates?

The Empire Pass Card is usable for all motor vehicles except those used in the business of transporting passengers for hire including public or private buses, shuttles, taxis, limousines, or other livery vehicles.

While a vehicle with commercial plates such as a pick-up truck are permitted to purchase the card, keep in mind, commercial vehicles are generally prohibited on parkways in the State Parks system. Use of the card to enter a facility does not waive these restrictions on commercial vehicles from driving on parkways. Contact the appropriate regional office for information on parkway restrictions.

How do I use the Empire Pass Card at facilities with automated pay stations?

Most automated pay stations will have posted instructions.

Do you offer a further discount for Empire Pass volume sales?

Yes; for the Empire Pass Card, a discount of $4 per card will automatically be applied to the purchase of 25 or more. Orders of 50 or more will be discounted by $8 per card. Orders of 100 or more will be discounted by $10 per card. Orders of 250 or more will be discounted by $15 per card. Orders of 500 or more will be discounted by $20 per card. Renewal discounts cannot be combined with bulk rate discounts.

Can I use the Empire Pass for special events, camping or overnight parking?

The Empire Pass does not guarantee vehicle entry into the park when special events occur and are operated by other organizations. It excludes camping, overnight parking, golf, museum or historic site admission and other special activity fees.

Is this a 4x4 or fishing permit?

No, 4x4 and fishing permits are exclusive to the Long Island Region. Information is available at Long Island Permits or at 631-669-1000 ext. 223 during ordinary business hours.

What happens when I purchase the Empire Pass or want to renew the Empire Pass as a gift?

There is no name printed on the Empire Pass so the recipient of the card as a gift can use it immediately. If they choose to reuse the card next season, they will need to call 518-474-0458 to renew their pass over the phone and request that the information be changed to him/her. This will allow us to maintain accurate records should the pass need to be replaced.

Can someone else use my Lifetime Empire Pass?

Since the Lifetime Empire Pass is an icon on an individual's Driver License or Non-Driver ID, it can only be used by that individual. That person need not be the driver, but must be present in the vehicle.

What happens to my Lifetime Empire Pass if I move out of state?

Since you may legally only possess one valid driver license, when your New York State Driver License is relinquished to get your new state's Driver License, you may apply through the NYS Dept. of Motor Vehicles for a New York State Non-Driver Identification Card on which your Lifetime Empire Pass will appear.

Do I have to be a NYS resident to purchase the Lifetime Empire Pass?

No, however, you must first obtain a NYS Non-Driver ID Card by visiting a NYS Dept. of Motor Vehicle office. For more information, please visit https://dmv.ny.gov

All Empire Pass card products are non-returnable and non-refundable after purchase.