What Pennsylvanians Need to Know About REAL ID

| February 13, 2019

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is reminding customers that they can join more than 140,000 Pennsylvanians who have pre-verified for REAL ID online and at driver license centers statewide. Customers who bring in the required REAL ID documentation to any PennDOT Driver License Center may apply for REAL ID online once REAL IDs are available in March and receive their REAL ID driver’s license or photo ID card in the mail.

Because PennDOT may already have electronic documents on file for approximately 35 percent of its total customers, individuals who received their first PA driver’s license or ID card after September 2003, these customers have had the option to apply for REAL ID pre-verification online since March of 2018.

Most of PennDOT’s customers, however, received their initial product BEFORE September 2003, so PennDOT does not have their required REAL ID documents on file. Customers in this group who want a REAL ID will need to bring the required documents to a Driver’s License Center so they can be verified in person.

These customers may bring the required documents to any PennDOT driver license center. Federal regulations require that to be issued a REAL ID-compliant product, PennDOT must verify original versions or certified copies of the following documents:

  • Proof of Identity (Original or certified copy of a birth certificate with a raised seal or valid U.S. Passport)
  • Proof of Social Security Number (Social security card)
  • Two Proofs of Current, Physical PA Address (Current, unexpired PA license or ID, current vehicle registration, auto insurance card, utility bill, etc.)
  • Proof of all Legal Name Changes, if current full legal name is different than what’s reflected on the proof of identity document (Certified marriage certificate or court order issued by your county’s family court)

PennDOT staff will image the documents to the customer’s record, and when REAL IDs are available in March 2019, the customer can opt into the REAL ID program online, and their REAL ID product will be sent through the mail, eliminating any need for this customer to visit a Driver License Center.

To obtain a REAL ID, customers will pay a one-time fee of $30, plus a renewal fee (current renewal fee is $30.50 for a four-year non-commercial driver’s license or a photo ID). The expiration date of their initial REAL ID product will include any time remaining on their existing non-REAL ID product, 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. After the initial REAL ID product expires, the customer will pay no additional fee, beyond regular renewal fees, to renew a REAL ID product.

When REAL IDs are available, customers will have three options for obtaining a REAL ID product: customers may order their REAL ID online (pre-verified customers only); they can visit a PennDOT Driver’s License Center, have their documents verified and imaged, pay the one-time fee, and their REAL ID product will be mailed to them within 15 business days; or they can visit one of up to 13 REAL ID Centers and receive their REAL ID product over-the-counter at the time of service.

PennDOT is in the process of retrofitting six of its existing driver’s license centers to allow for over-the-counter issuance of REAL ID (Williamsport, Wilkes-Barre, Rockview in Centre County, Erie, Altoona, and South 70th Street in Philadelphia) and adding five new locations in the following regions: Pittsburgh, King of Prussia, Allentown, Harrisburg, and Lancaster. These new locations will be open by March.

REAL ID is optional for Pennsylvania residents. A federally-accepted form of identification (whether it’s the forthcoming Pennsylvania REAL ID driver’s license or ID card, a 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 on and after October 1, 2020.There is no requirement that any resident obtain a REAL ID and PennDOT will continue to offer standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs.

REAL ID-compliant products are marked with a gold star in the upper right corner, standard-issue (non-compliant) products include the phrase “Not for REAL ID Purposes,” per federal regulations. Sample images can be viewed on PennDOT’s website.

More information about REAL ID in Pennsylvania, including frequently asked questions and information on documents required for REAL ID, can be found atwww.penndot.gov/REALID.


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