Harrisburg,PA– Governor Tom Wolf today announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has granted Pennsylvania a REAL ID enforcement extension through October 10, 2018.
This extension means that Pennsylvania residents will not face access issues when entering federal facilities or boarding commercial aircraft through that date.
“I am thankful that DHS has recognized Pennsylvania’s efforts in becoming compliant with the REAL ID Act,” said Governor Wolf.
“REAL ID is a priority for PennDOT, and we look forward to being able to offer REAL ID-compliant products as an option for our customers.”
PennDOT anticipates that REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses will be available at the customer’s option in March 2019. Customers are encouraged to begin gathering the required documentation as soon as possible, giving them ample time to prepare. More information about what documents will be required is available on PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website.
What is REAL ID?
The REAL ID Act is a federal law passed by Congress after 9/11 that establishes specific minimum federal standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards to be accepted for certain federal purposes, like entering a federal building or boarding a domestic commercial flight.Pennsylvania has been granted an extension to the REAL ID Act through October 10, 2018. What does that mean?
The extension means that current PennDOT-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards can be used to enter federal facilities through that date. . Extensions are at the sole discretion of DHS. Pennsylvania will continue applying for REAL ID extensions until becoming fully compliant with the Act.
Can I board a plane with the license I have now?
Yes. Current PennDOT-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards will remain acceptable identification for boarding domestic commercial flights as long as an extension is in place. PennDOT’s current extension lasts until October 10, 2018.
What happens after 2020?
Beginning October 1, 2020, Pennsylvanians will need a REAL ID-compliant license, identification card or an acceptable alternative identification as approved by TSA to board domestic commercial flights or enter a federal facility without a secondary form of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approved identification.
What is PennDOT’s plan to ensure that Pennsylvania is compliant with REAL ID regulations?
PennDOT is working to develop a deployment plan that will make REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards available to Pennsylvania residents by Spring 2019.
Why did PennDOT wait so long to begin the REAL ID process?
Until May 2017, Pennsylvania law prohibited PennDOT from complying with the federal REAL ID Act. Act 3 of 2017 repealed this prior legislation and allowed PennDOT to seek REAL ID compliance. Preliminary work has begun and PennDOT anticipates that REAL ID-compliant documents will be available at the customer’s option by Spring 2019.
I just renewed my license and got the newly-designed version. Is this a REAL ID?
No. Periodic design and security updates are standard business practice for PennDOT, and it was in the best interest of our customers to continue that important work despite prior legislation prohibiting REAL ID compliance.
Will the non-REAL ID driver’s license or identification card be less secure?
No. While processes and procedures required by DHS to issue a REAL ID card differ from standard-issued cards, the non-REAL ID cards will be produced using the same security features.
Why would I want a REAL ID?
A federally accepted identification (whether it’s a Pennsylvania REAL ID driver’s license or identification card, US Passport/Passport Card, military ID, etc.) must be used as your identification to board a commercial flight or visit a secure federal building on and after October 1, 2020.
Do I have to get a REAL ID?
No, REAL ID is optional for Pennsylvania residents. You will be able to get either a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card, or a standard driver’s license or identification card. If you have a valid US Passport or US Passport Card, military ID, or another federally approved identification, you may use this as your form of identification to pass a TSA checkpoint at airports nationwide and visit a secure federal building or military installations at any time.
If you know you will not be boarding a commercial flight or visiting a secure federal facility or military base, you do not need a REAL ID.
You do not need a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card to do any of the following:
- Apply for or receive federal benefits for which you are entitled (Veterans’ Affairs, Social Security Administration, etc.)
- Enter a federal facility that does not require an ID (i.e. a post office)
- Access a hospital or receive life-saving services
- Participate in law enforcement proceedings or investigations (serve on a federal jury, testify in federal court, etc.)