PennDOT issuing REAL ID cards starting in March

LOCK HAVEN — Airport security is going to get tighter in 2020, and frequent flyers won’t be getting on board without REAL ID identification.

REAL IDs will be available in March 2019 to Pennsylvania residents who want them, though PennDOT says they are entirely optional.

However, a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, photo ID card, or another form of federally-acceptable identification, such as a valid passport or military ID, will be required to enter a military installation, federal facility, nuclear power plant, or board a federally-regulated commercial aircraft.

The new requirements take effect on Oct. 1, 2020, and could cause some residents issues in their pending traveling plans.

The REAL ID Act is a federal law passed by Congress after Sept. 11, 2001, and it establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and ID cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.

Residents will not need a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card to drive, vote, 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, or participate in law enforcement proceedings or investigations (serve on a federal jury, testify in federal court, etc.)

However, these forms of identification will be required to pass a TSA checkpoint at airports nationwide at any time.

Travelers will still need a valid passport to travel internationally.

To purchase a REAL ID, residents must pay a one-time fee of $30, plus a renewal fee. The current renewal fee is $30.50 for a four-year non-commercial driver’s license or a photo ID. The expiration date of the initial REAL ID product will include any time remaining on the current license or ID card, plus an additional four years, unless the resident is over 65 and have a two-year license.

Federal regulations require that PennDOT must verify the following documents for a customer before issuing a REAL ID:

r Proof of identity — Original or certified copy of a birth certificate with a raised seal, issued by an authorized government agency, or valid U.S. Passport.

r Social Security card — A laminated card will not be accepted.

r Proof of all legal name changes — Marriage certificate, court order or divorce decree issued by your county’s family court.

r Two proofs of current, physical Pa. address — Examples: current, unexpired Pa. license or ID and a no more than 90-day-old bank statement or utility bill with the same name and address.

For additional information on REAL ID documentation requirements and to download our printable document checklist, visit and click “Document Check”.

If concerned residents do not have their birth certificate in their possession, they may need to contact the state or county Department of Health office and request an original or certified copy. It may take months to process duplicate birth certificates, so it is advisable to begin this process right away.

If an applicant’s current legal name, date of birth, or gender designation is different from the information on their birth certificate or legal status document, they must show legal proof of the change.

TSA does not currently require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States, though the companion will need acceptable identification.