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Everything You Need to Know About REAL ID Pennsylvania

    Everything You Need to Know About REAL ID Pennsylvania

    You may have heard that in the not too distant future, you won't be able to fly or enter a secure government building with your Pennsylvania driver's license. According to Pennsylvania citizens with valid U.S. passports, a document that should allow anybody (not on a no-fly list) to board a domestic aircraft anywhere in the U.S., less than 7% of individuals in the commonwealth would be allowed to travel by commercial airline today if Real ID were the law.


    This month, the DMV began issuing the new licences; eventually, a Real ID will be the only form of identification accepted by the federal government. The bad thing is that it will be twice as expensive as the previous version, necessitate a trip to the DMV (which, to be honest, is probably worse), and involve a lot of paperwork.

    What is REAL ID

    Everyone began to take security more seriously after 9/11. On the advice of the 9/11 Commission, Congress approved the REAL ID Act in 2005 to create stricter requirements for identification papers. Driver's licenses are among these ID papers. Although the implementation process took 13 years, the legislation is eventually scheduled to take effect in 2023. In 2005, a contentious initiative was enacted into federal law. State-issued driver's licenses must meet “minimal security criteria,” according to the Department of Homeland Security.

    An upgraded state-issued driver's licence is a REAL ID. The majority of driver's licences that comply with REAL ID contain a star in the upper-right corner to signify compliance.

    Who Requires REAL IDs?

    A REAL ID will be needed starting on May 3, 2023 in order to: access military base, enter certain government buildings, board a commercial plane (including domestic flights).

    While the first two circumstances may not have much of an impact on you, you must update to a REAL ID-compliant licence by spring 2023 if you want to continue using your Pennsylvania driver's licence to board domestic flights.

    Remember that obtaining a REAL ID is not required in Pennsylvania. If you don't obtain a REAL ID by the deadline, you can still board an aircraft using other identification. If you don't obtain a REAL ID, you will be required to carry a current passport or military ID with you anytime you travel inside the country by plane, enter a base for the armed forces, or enter a government building that requests identification upon entry.

    How to Get the REAL ID in Pennsylvania

    In Pennsylvania, you may upgrade to a REAL ID by following these easy steps:

    • Complete a pre-verification procedure online. Without having to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), you might be able to purchase a REAL ID online if you meet the requirements.
    • To gather all the documentation required for your REAL ID, including identity and evidence of residency, use the document checklist provided by the Pennsylvania DMV.
    • You may verify your documentation at any PennDOT REAL ID location and get your REAL ID in 15 business days afterward.

    PennDOT demands:

    • Evidence of identification a raised or embossed seal on the original or certified copy of a birth certificate submitted to the state office of vital records, or a current, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card
    • a social security number's proof: Social Security card original
    • two documents attesting to your present, actual PA address, if necessary: Current, valid PA driver's licence or ID, PA vehicle registration, auto insurance card, or utility bill with the same name and address are some examples.
    • Proof of each legal change in name: certified divorce decision, court order, or marriage certificate from your county's family court.

    However, applicant's REAL ID documents might be online with PennDOT, this will enable applicants to purchase their REAL ID online. To see if you qualify, submit an online REAL ID pre-verification application. Please be aware that alternative papers are permissible if you are a non-U.S. citizen who is legally present. A one-time $30 cost plus a $30.50 renewal fee must be paid if you want to convert your current driver's license to REAL ID compliance.

    The good news is that PennDOT probably already has these records on file for you if you hold your first Pennsylvania license since September 2003, but you must confirm this with the agency.

    Things to Note:

    • You must pay to obtain a REAL ID: You will have to pay $30 in Pennsylvania for the REAL ID charge. Then, if you're a routine non-commercial driver, the licence renewal fee is $30.50. That's a total of $60.50.
    • You can obtain a REAL ID immediately at certain PennDOT locations: In the heart of Pennsylvania, there are two places. two locations: one at 429 N. Enola Road in East Pennsboro Township, Cumberland County, and 2090 Lincoln Highway East in Lancaster East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County. Mondays are both off for both. Additionally, you can visit any PennDOT Driver License Center, but you will need to wait about 15 days for the REAL ID to arrive in the mail.
    • To obtain a REAL ID, you need to provide many papers.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What if I Fail to Obtain a REAL ID?

    To some extent, you may still drive with a standard Pennsylvania license.

    You will undoubtedly be allowed to continue using a standard Pennsylvania license for the following, according to the DHS:

    • voting, or signing up to vote
    • requesting or obtaining federal benefits
    • driving with a state-issued license
    • visiting a hospital
    • going to court or taking part in police investigations

    What Does the New PA REAL ID Look Like?

    One of the key feature of the new Pennsylvania REAL ID is that it must contain a gold circle with a start inside. Overall, it looks the same like the new redesigned Pennsylvania ID with all the standard security features.


    I hope this article proved useful in sharing information about the REAL ID in Pennsylvania. If you have any questions, leave a comment and we will get to you soonest.