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REAL ID enforcement 1 year away

On May 3, 2023, people will have to use a REAL ID license to board domestic flights or enter a federal building, as per federal law.

A Monday news release from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said the agency, as well as the Transportation Safety Administration and Philadelphia International Airport, urge state residents who want REAL ID-compliant licenses to gather necessary documents now to ensure they have plenty of time before the federal enforcement date arrives.

According to the news release, REAL ID is a federal law that affects how states issue driver's licenses and ID cards if they are going to be acceptable for federal purposes, such as boarding a domestic flight or entering a federal building that requires federally acceptable ID upon entry.

“A federally acceptable form of identification, whether it's a Pennsylvania REAL ID driver's license or ID card, a valid U.S. Passport/Passport Card, a military ID, etc., must be used for these purposes on and after May 3, 2023.”

There is no requirement that any resident obtain a REAL ID; PennDOT continues to offer standard-issue driver's licenses and photo IDs.

There are three options for obtaining a REAL ID. Customers can order it online if they have been pre-verified; they can visit any PennDOT driver’s license center that is open for driver license services, have their documents verified and imaged; or they can visit one of 13 REAL ID Centers and receive their REAL ID product over the counter at the time of service.

When a customer gets their first REAL ID product, they pay a one-time fee of $30, plus the applicable renewal fee. The current renewal fee is $30.50 for a four-year non-commercial driver’s license, and $31.50 for a photo ID.

The expiration date of their initial REAL ID product will include any time remaining on their existing non-REAL ID product, plus an additional four years, unless the customer is over 65 and has a two-year license.

This expiration date structure means that customers won’t “lose” time that they’ve already paid for. After the initial REAL ID product expires, customers pay no additional fee, beyond regular renewal fees, to renew a REAL ID product.