The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced Sept. 16 that it has resumed processing requests for REAL ID driver’s licenses and identification cards.
The federal Department of Homeland Security agreed to extend the deadline for enforcing the use of REAL ID by one year. After Oct. 1, 2021, everyone will need a REAL ID driver’s license or ID card, a valid passport, or a military ID to pass through airport security or enter most federal buildings.
REAL ID is optional in Pennsylvania. There is no requirement that any resident obtain a REAL ID. A valid passport can be used for entry at airports and federal buildings. PennDOT continues to offer standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs.
To obtain a REAL ID card, residents have to prove their identity by presenting a certified copy of a birth certificate with a raised seal or a valid U.S. passport; a Social Security card with their current legal name; two proofs of their current address such as a valid driver’s license or ID card, vehicle registration or current utility bills; and proof of legal name changes if that name is different than the name on the other documents.
Residents can present their documents at any PennDOT driver’s license center for verification. New cards are mailed within 15 days. The state also has 12 REAL ID centers available where residents can present their documents and receive their REAL ID over the counter.
Anyone who obtained a driver’s license or ID card after 2002 can apply for REAL ID online because the state has their identification paperwork on file.
For their first REAL ID-compliant card, a customer pays a one-time fee of $30 plus the renewal fee of $30.50 for a four-year noncommercial license or $31.50 for an ID card. The new license or card will be good for four years after the expiration of the resident’s current license or ID.
After the initial REAL ID driver’s license or ID card expires, the resident will pay no additional fee, beyond regular renewal fees, to renew the card.