Those who have been through airports in the last year or so may have seen signs indicating that a change is on the horizon regarding what forms of ID will be required to board even domestic commercial flights.
The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress back in 2005, but will not be enforced until fall of 2020. The Act requires that state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards meet specific minimum standards to be accepted for activities like boarding domestic flights or entering federal buildings.
The reason it has taken so long for state-issued REAL IDs to become available is that until 2017, Pennsylvania law actually prohibited PennDot from complying with the federal government’s REAL ID Act.
PennDOT will begin issuing REAL IDs in March. Acquiring a REAL ID is optional, but passing through TSA airport checkpoints will require an additional form of REAL ID Act compliant identification like a U.S. Passport, U.S. Passport card, military ID, or other federally issued form of ID.
To acquire a REAL ID, take your REAL ID documentation to any PennDOT Driver’s License Center to become pre-verified. Once Real IDs become available in March, you will be able to apply online without having to make a second trip back to the Driver’s License Center (that sound you just heard was everyone breathing a collective sigh of relief).
Should you choose not to get a REAL ID, your current ID will have no affect on your whether or not you are permitted to drive and will also continue to work for general identification purposes.
For more answers to some frequently asked questions regarding REAL ID, click here.