REAL ID deadline for Pa. residents coming this fall


Since March 1, 2019, PennDOT has processed about 2.7 million customers, with more than 826,000 individuals choosing to opt in to the REAL ID program

PennDOT Job Fair

Credit: AP Carolyn Kaster

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WKBN) – REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and photo ID cards are available to Pennsylvanians who want them for a full year.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reports that it is well on its way to meeting the projected demand for the federally-approved form of identification.

Based on data from other states offering an optional REAL ID program, PennDOT projected that 1.3 million of its customers would get a REAL ID prior to the federal deadline of October 1, 2020.

Since March 1, 2019, PennDOT has processed about 2.7 million customers, with more than 826,000 individuals choosing to opt in to the REAL ID program.

The remaining 1.8 million have chosen not to participate or use an alternative federally-acceptable form of ID come the October deadline.

“Although October may seem far away right now, we encourage our customers who want a REAL ID to get one as soon as possible,” said PennDOT Acting Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “We continue to focus on providing the best possible customer service to all of our customers as the federal deadline approaches.”

A federally-acceptable form of identification (whether it’s a Pennsylvania REAL ID driver’s license or ID card, a valid U.S. Passport/Passport Card, a military ID, etc.) must be used as identification to board a commercial flight or visit a secure federal building that requires a federally acceptable form of identification ID for access on and after October 1.

There is no requirement that any resident obtain a REAL ID; PennDOT will continue to offer standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs.

Federal REAL ID regulations require that PennDOT verify a customer’s identity, social security number, Pa. residency and name changes (if applicable), even if a customer already has a Pennsylvania driver’s license or ID card.

More info about document requirements, including a printable document checklist, can be found on the Document Check page of the PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services website.

Customers have three options for obtaining a REAL ID:

  • Customers may order their REAL ID online if they have been pre-verified.
  • Customers can visit any PennDOT Driver’s License Center, have their documents verified and imaged and their REAL ID will be mailed to them within 15 business days.
  • Customers can visit one of 12 REAL ID Centers and receive their REAL ID over-the-counter at the time of service.

The first REAL ID costs $30, plus a renewal fee.

The expiration date of their initial REAL ID will include any time remaining on their existing ID, plus an additional four years unless the customer is over 65 and has a two-year license.

This expiration date structure means that the customer won’t lose time that they’ve already paid for.

REAL ID-compliant are marked with a gold star in the upper right corner. Sample images can be viewed on PennDOT’s website.

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