Real ID: What You Need to Know
Real ID Update:

Currently and through October 10, 2018, Pennsylvanians can use their existing PA driver license or photo ID for secure federal facility access and domestic commercial air travel. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has granted Pennsylvania an enforcement extension which allows for the continued use of the PA IDs.

PennDot is now accepting online applications for REAL ID pre-verification from residents who obtained their first driver’s license or photo ID AFTER September, 2003. Beginning March 1, PennDOT is sending postcards to these eligible residents informing them that may apply for REAL ID pre-verification if the resident plans to obtain a REAL ID. The pre-verification application is available on PennDOT's REAL ID Online Pre-Verification Application site.

Once an eligible resident has completed the REAL ID Online Pre-Verification application, he/ she will receive follow-up communication from PennDOT regarding the status of the pre-verification request and whether the required documents are on file with the department.

Please note that residents are not pre-verified until they have completed the online pre-verification process and received confirmation from PennDOT that required documents are on file.

Beginning in September, 2018, PennDOT’s Driver’s License Centers will be equipped to verify documents for all REAL ID applicants, not just those who obtained their first driver’s license or photo ID AFTER September, 2003.

There are proactive steps you can take now if you plan to apply for a PA REAL ID. PennDOT will need to verify your identity, social security number, and Pennsylvania residency, even if you have a current PA driver license or photo ID. You should begin to gather your verification documents now and keep them together in a safe place.

Detailed information on the documents to be used for verification, a list of alternative acceptable IDs, and answers to other REAL ID FAQs can be found at You can also click on the “REAL ID Document Check” graphic on my website for a REAL ID Document checklist.

Background Notes on REAL ID

On May 26, 2017, Act 3, the Pennsylvania REAL ID Compliance Act, became law. The Act allows Pennsylvanians to decide whether or not they will want a PA REAL ID-compliant identification when the REAL IDs become available.

If you decide to get a PA REAL ID, the REAL ID will replace your PA standard issued driver license or photo ID and you will be able to use the REAL ID to access secure federal buildings and for domestic commercial air travel. If you decide not to get a PA REAL ID, you can continue to use your PA standard issued driver license or photo ID for general identification; however, you will need an alternate acceptable ID, such as passport, to access to secure federal facilities and for domestic commercial air travel.

PennDOT estimates that Pennsylvania REAL ID compliant driver licenses and ID cards will be available in spring 2019. PennDOT will continue to request extensions from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) until REAL ID products are available for residents. DHS’s final REAL ID enforcement date for all states is October 1, 2020.

A passport will still be required for international travel.

The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) does not and will not require children under age 18 to provide an ID when traveling with an adult companion within the United States. The adult companion will need acceptable identification.

Once REAL ID is fully implemented, REAL ID enforcement notices will be posted at federal and military facilities requiring a REAL ID-compliant license or acceptable alternative ID for entrance.

Generally, REAL ID-compliant ID will be needed for entry into nuclear power stations, military installations, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Department of Energy (DOE) offices. Federal buildings NOT likely to post REAL ID enforcement notices include:
  • Federal courthouses (except those with restricted areas or semi-restricted areas).

  • General Services Administration (GSA) buildings with diverse public benefits offices, including immigration services and federal law enforcement agencies.

  • Veterans Administration service centers and health care facilities.

  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offices.

  • Social Security offices.

  • Post Offices.

  • Department of the Interior Agencies.

  • National parks and monuments.