HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today that it has resumed issuing REAL IDs at reopened Driver License Centers offering driver license services throughout the state.
PennDOT paused REAL ID issuance throughout the state in March 2020 out of an abundance of caution and public health, due to COVID-19. Additionally, the federal Department of Homeland Security postponed the enforcement date for REAL ID from October 1, 2020, to October 1, 2021, in response to COVID-19 and the national emergency declaration.
REAL ID is optional in Pennsylvania.
There is no requirement to obtain a REAL ID; PennDOT continues to offer standard-issue driver's licenses and photo IDs.
REAL ID is a federal law that affects how states issue driver's licenses and ID cards if they will be acceptable for federal purposes. A federally-acceptable form of identification (whether it's a Pennsylvania REAL ID driver's license or ID card, a valid US Passport/Passport Card, a military ID, etc.) must now be used on and after October 1, 2021, as identification to board a commercial flight or visit a secure federal building that requires a federally acceptable form of identification ID for access.
Customers can obtain a REAL ID by presenting documents for verification and processing at any driver license center. Federal regulations require that to be issued a REAL ID-compliant product, PennDOT must verify the below documents:
- Proof of Identity: Examples include an original or certified copy of a birth certificate filed with the State Office of Vital Records/Statistics with a raised seal/embossed or valid, unexpired, US Passport;
- Proof of Social Security Number: Social security card, in the current legal name;
- Two Proofs of Current, Physical PA Address: Examples include a current, unexpired PA driver's license or identification card, vehicle registration or a utility bill with the same name and address; and
- Proof of all Legal Name Changes (if a current legal name is different than what is reflected on proof of identity document): Examples include a certified marriage certificate(s) issued by the County Court for each marriage, court order(s) approving a change in legal name or an amended birth certificate issued by the State Office of Vital Records/Statistics. If the current name is the same as what is reflected on proof of identity document (usually a birth certificate or passport), a customer does not need to show proof of legal name changes.
Customers have three options for obtaining a REAL ID product: Customers may order their REAL ID online if they have been pre-verified and their REAL ID product will be mailed to them within 15 business days; they can visit any PennDOT Driver's License Center that is open for driver license services, have their documents verified and imaged, and their REAL ID product will be mailed to them within 15 business days, or they can visit one of 12 REAL ID Centers and receive their REAL ID product over the counter at the time of service.
For a full list of opened driver license centers and their services, please visit the PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services website.
When a customer gets their first REAL ID product, they 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). Their initial REAL ID product's expiration date 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.
Since March 1, 2019, PennDOT has processed about 4 million customers, with more than 912,000 individuals choosing to opt into the REAL ID program.
More info about document requirements for REAL ID, including a printable document checklist, can be found on the Document Check page of the PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services website. The project's final graded components include an article submitted to the D2L dropbox as an MS Word document and the podcast interview submitted as a video file.