REAL ID in Pennsylvania

REAL ID in Pennsylvania

Beginning October 1, 2020, 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.

REAL IDs are now available to Pennsylvanians who want them. This guide will help you decide if you need a REAL ID, and provide information on what documents you will need and steps you can take to get an optional REAL ID.

Do I Have to Get a REAL ID?

No. REAL ID is optional for Pennsylvania residents. You will be able to get either a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card, or a standard driver’s license or identification card.

If you do not get a REAL ID, you must have an alternate form of federally-acceptable identification (valid passport, military ID, etc.) to board domestic commercial flights and enter certain federal facilities after October 1, 2020.

APPLICABLE USES STANDARD ID OR DL REAL ID OR DL
Driving (DL only) YES YES
General Identification Purposes YES YES
Boarding a Domestic (U.S.) Flight after October 1, 2020 NO YES
Entering a Federal Facility (that requires ID) or Military Base NO YES

You do NOT need a REAL ID to:

  • Drive.
  • Vote.
  • Access hospitals.
  • Visit the post office.
  • Access federal courts.
  • Apply for or receive federal benefits, such as social security or veterans’ benefits.

If you’re not sure whether a REAL ID is right for you, our REAL ID online wizard may be able to help.

Prepare for REAL ID

Gather Your Documents
The best thing you can do to prepare for REAL ID is to get your documents together . Federal regulations require that PennDOT must verify original versions or certified copies of the following documents for a customer before issuing a REAL ID:

  • Proof of identity:  Original or certified copy of a birth certificate filed with the state office of vital records with a raised/embossed seal — issued by an authorized government agency — or valid, unexpired U.S. Passport or passport card.
  • Proof of Social Security number: Social Security card.
  • Two proofs of current, physical PA address (if applicable): Examples include current, unexpired PA license or ID, PA vehicle registration, auto insurance card or utility bill with the same name and address.
  • Proof of all legal name changes: Certified marriage certificate, court order, or divorce decree issued by your county’s family court.

If you are a lawfully present non-U.S. citizen, acceptable documents include:

  • Unexpired Employment Authorization Card (EAD) issued by DHS; Forms I-766 or Form 1-688B
  • Valid, Unexpired Permanent Resident Card I-551 Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) Issued by DHS or INS
  • Unexpired foreign passport with an unexpired U.S. visa affixed, and an I-94 indicating temporary evidence of permanent residence

Additional information for non-U.S. citizens can be found on PennDOT’s REAL ID Information for non-U.S. Citizens page .

Learn more about REAL ID documentation requirements and download a printable document checklist on PennDOT’s REAL ID Document Check page .

More Information on Documents

Apply for Verification

Get Verified Online
If you received your FIRST Pennsylvania driver’s license, learner’s permit, or photo ID card AFTER September 1, 2003, PennDOT may already have your REAL ID documentation on file.

To find out if your required REAL ID documents are on file with PennDOT, apply for REAL ID verification online .

If PennDOT confirms that your documents are on file, you can order your REAL ID online — no need to visit a driver’s license center!

Get Verified in Person
If you received your FIRST Pennsylvania driver’s license, learner’s permit or photo ID card BEFORE September 1, 2003, you must bring in your documents for in-person verification.

You may bring your REAL ID documentation to any PennDOT Driver License Center for verification.

More Information on Verification

How to Get a REAL ID

Order REAL ID Online

Verified customers may apply online and receive their REAL IDs in the mail within 15 business days.

Get REAL ID In-Person

More Information on REAL ID

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