Pennsylvania Steps Closer to Federal Compliance With REAL ID, Calls for Residents to Update IDs Now

Federal REAL IDCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, allied forces with the federal Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) and the Harrisburg International Airport to emphasize the urgency for Pennsylvanians to update to REAL ID-compliant identification. They made this public reminder at an event held at the Harrisburg International Airport on Thursday.

Starting today, May 7, 2025, Pennsylvanians will require a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, photo ID card, or another federally acceptable identification to board a domestic commercial flight or enter certain federal facilities. So far, over 2.3 million REAL ID products have been issued by PennDOT.

“The enforcement deadline for REAL ID is right around the corner,” stressed Mike Carroll, PennDOT Secretary. “REAL ID is not mandatory in Pennsylvania, but if you expect you’ll need one – particularly for air travel – we urge you to start the process immediately.”

The federal REAL ID law prescribes how states should issue licenses and ID cards suitable for federal uses, like boarding a commercial flight or gaining entry into specific federal facilities. The goal of REAL ID, according to Karen Keys-Turner, TSA Federal Security Director, is to “enhance the reliability and accuracy of driver licenses and identification cards, thus making it harder for terrorists to evade detection through fraudulent identification.”

Pennsylvanians can acquire a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card at any PennDOT driver license center, though certain documentation must be presented for verification and processing as per federal regulations.

Timothy J. Edwards, Executive Director of Harrisburg International Airport, strongly recommended that all Pennsylvanians secure a REAL ID promptly. He added that they don’t want any travelers to be denied boarding due to lack of approved identification. He insisted that even those without immediate plans to fly should get a REAL ID, as unforeseen travel needs may arise.

READ:  Pennsylvania Expands Funding for Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

In getting a REAL ID, customers have three options: they can apply for REAL ID pre-verification and order their REAL ID-compliant product online if they received their first Pennsylvania driver’s license, learner’s permit, or photo ID card after September 1, 2003; visit any PennDOT Driver’s License Center that is open for driver license services and have their documents verified and imaged; or visit one of the 13 REAL ID Centers and receive their REAL ID instantly.

For the first REAL ID product, customers will pay a one-time fee of $30, plus a renewal fee. The initial REAL ID product’s expiration date will cover any time left on their existing non-REAL ID product, and an additional four years. After expiration, regular renewal fees apply to renew a REAL ID product.

“PennDOT Pop-Up” booths will be hosted statewide at various community events in the coming year to assist with REAL ID sign-ups. At these pop-ups, pre-verified customers can order their product, and it will be mailed to them within 15 business days. Customers who don’t yet have the necessary documents on file can bring them to a “Pop-Up” to have them verified and imaged, and then order a REAL ID product to be mailed to them.

For the latest news on everything happening in Chester County and the surrounding area, be sure to follow MyChesCo on Google News and Microsoft Start.