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Are Your Residents Ready for REAL IDs?

Thursday October 10th, 2019
Beginning October 1, 2020, all Pennsylvanians will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or other form of identification to board a domestic commercial airline flight or enter a federal building or military installation that requires ID. Townships should make sure their residents know how to get REAL IDs if they need or want them.
REAL IDs are optional and are not necessary to drive, vote, access federal courts, or apply for or receive federal benefits, such as Social Security, Medicare, or veterans’ benefits. However, anyone who wants to fly to Florida, California, Colorado, or anywhere else in the U.S. will need a REAL ID or other federally acceptable form of identification, such as a valid passport or military ID, come next October.
Following are the steps necessary to obtain a REAL ID:
Step 1: Gather the necessary documents
To obtain a REAL ID driver’s license, residents must provide certain documents to PennDOT for verification. These must be original versions or certified copies of the following:
• Proof of identity — An original or certified copy of a birth certificate that is filed with the state Office of Vital Statistics and has a raised or embossed seal or a valid U.S. passport or passport card.
• Proof of Social Security number — An original, non-laminated Social Security card.
• Two proofs of current, physical Pennsylvania residence (if applicable) — Examples include a current driver’s license or photo ID, vehicle registration, automobile insurance card, W-2 form or pay stub, or utility bill that shows your current name and address.
• Proof of any and all legal name changes — Examples include a certified marriage certificate, court order, or divorce decree issued by a county family court.
Step 2: Apply for pre-verification
Drivers who received their first license, learner’s permit, or photo ID card after September 1, 2003, may already have their documentation on file with PennDOT. Residents may find out if their documents are on file by going to the DMV's REAL ID pre-verification webpage. Drivers whose documents are on file may order their REAL ID online, rather than visiting a driver’s license center, and will receive their REAL ID by mail within 15 business days.
Drivers who received their first license, learner’s permit, or photo ID card before September 1, 2003, must visit one of the following:
• Any PennDOT REAL ID center, which will verify and scan the required documents and issue a REAL ID at the time of service.
• Any PennDOT Driver License Center, which will verify and scan the required documents and order a REAL ID, which the driver will receive by mail within 15 business days.
REAL IDs for CDL drivers
Residents with a commercial driver’s license are currently not eligible to apply online for a REAL ID and must apply in person at a PennDOT Driver License Center. CDL holders must present the required documents as described above to obtain a REAL ID-compliant CDL license.
The renewal cost is built into the REAL ID process for non-commercial drivers. However, because renewal fees for commercial drivers are more expensive, CDL holders have two options:
1) Drivers can renew their CDL when obtaining a REAL ID and pay a one-time fee of $30 for the REAL ID, plus the applicable renewal fee. The REAL ID CDL will include any remaining time on the current license, plus four years.
2) Drivers can get a REAL ID and pay for a duplicate CDL, which will cost the one-time fee of $30, plus a duplicate fee, currently $29.50. The expiration date of the REAL ID CDL will be the same as the expiration on the current CDL.
To learn more about REAL IDs, what documents are needed, and answers to frequently asked questions, go to the DMV's REAL ID webpage.