Pennsylvania Residents Urged to Update Driver Licenses and Identification Cards

PennDOT securityCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

PENNSYLVANIA — As the federal enforcement deadline of May 3, 2023. for REAL ID approaches, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is urging Pennsylvania residents to update their driver’s licenses and identification cards. The new design features enhanced security measures that will help protect against identity theft and fraud.

“PennDOT remains vigilant in taking proactive measures to mitigate fraud, such as identity theft, by updating our security features regularly,” PennDOT Deputy Secretary Kurt Myers said.

On September 12, 2022, PennDOT began piloting new driver’s license and photo products at the Summerdale Driver License Center in Enola. Since then, another 15 locations have started issuing the new products. All driver’s license and photo centers statewide will transition to the new products by mid-November 2022. The new products will be phased in during renewal cycles and will replace existing products. Both current and new card designs will be in circulation during the transition period.

The new cards will feature updated security features, including a primary portrait image and a secondary landscape image. The background of the card will also be updated with new artwork that represents Pennsylvania’s diverse landscapes. In addition, the new cards will be printed on thicker stock to prevent bending and tearing. Finally, the cards will include raised text and tactile symbols to assist those with visual impairments.

“All of these measures are important enhancements to fight against fraudulent driver’s license or identification cards being produced or used. Fraudulently obtaining and using a counterfeit product can have an adverse impact on highway safety and national security, so the need to deter and detect fraud is of paramount importance,” PennDOT’s Risk Management Director Brent Lawson said. “These new security features make it more difficult to produce a fraudulent product.”

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Additionally, beginning May 3, 2023, Pennsylvanians will need 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) to board a domestic commercial flight or enter a federal building or military installation that requires ID. To date, PennDOT has issued approximately 1.8 million REAL ID products.

“We encourage our customers who want a REAL ID to get one as soon as possible,” PennDOT REAL ID Director Sarah Baker said. “Making the conscious decision about your REAL ID needs now will help ensure you are well prepared prior to the May 3, 2023, federal enforcement deadline.”

All Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to use the upcoming months to gather the needed documents now to ensure they leave plenty of time to get their REAL ID before the federal enforcement date, especially if their driver’s license or ID card is up for renewal. There is no requirement that any resident obtain a REAL ID; PennDOT continues to offer standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs

More information about REAL ID can be found on the REAL ID page on the Driver and Vehicle Services website.

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