The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Deputy Secretary for Driver and Vehicle Services Kurt Myers provided an update today on Pennsylvania’s progress toward compliance with the federal REAL ID Act, and how customers can apply for REAL ID pre-verification in PennDOT driver license centers in the coming weeks.
Because PennDOT may already have electronic documents on file for approximately 35 percent of its total customers, individuals who received their first PA driver’s license or ID card after September 2003, these customers have had the option to apply for REAL ID pre-verification online since March.
Most of PennDOT’s customers, however, received their initial product BEFORE September 2003, so PennDOT does not have their required REAL ID documents on file. Customers in this group who want a REAL ID will need to bring the required documents to a Driver’s License Center so they can be verified in person.
Beginning September 1, these customers may bring the required documents to any PennDOT driver license center. Federal regulations require that to be issued a REAL ID-compliant product, PennDOT must verify the following documents:
- Proof of Identity (Original or certified copy of a birth certificate with a raised seal or valid U.S. Passport)
- Proof of Social Security Number (Unlaminated social security card)
- Proof of all Legal Name Changes (Marriage certificate or court order issued by your county’s family court)
- Two Proofs of Current, Physical PA Address (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)
PennDOT staff will image the documents to the customer’s record, and when REAL IDs are available in March 2019, the customer can opt into the REAL ID program online, and their REAL ID product will be sent through the mail, eliminating any need for this customer to visit a Driver License Center.
To obtain a REAL ID, customers 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). The expiration date of their initial REAL ID product 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.
When REAL IDs are available, customers will have three options for obtaining a REAL ID product: pre-verified customers may order their REAL ID online; they can visit a PennDOT Driver’s License Center, have their documents verified and imaged, pay the one-time fee, and their REAL ID product will be mailed to them within 7-10 days; or they can visit one of up to 13 REAL ID Centers and receive their REAL ID product over-the-counter at the time of service.
PennDOT is in the process of retrofitting six of its existing driver’s license centers to allow for over-the-counter issuance of REAL ID (Williamsport, Wilkes-Barre, Rockview in Centre County, Erie, Altoona and South 70th Street in Philadelphia) and adding five new locations in the following regions: Pittsburgh, King of Prussia, Allentown, Harrisburg, and Lancaster.
REAL ID is optional for Pennsylvania residents. A federally-accepted form of identification (whether it’s the forthcoming Pennsylvania REAL ID driver’s license or ID card, a U.S. Passport/Passport Card, a military ID, etc.) must be used as identification to board a commercial flight or visit a secure federal building on and after October 1, 2020.There is no requirement that any resident obtain a REAL ID and PennDOT will continue to offer standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs.