Pennsylvanians Have One Year Left to Get Their Real ID

Even though there’s a year left, folks are encouraged to apply early to avoid the inevitable last-minute rush.


Did you get your Real ID yet? The clock is ticking — there’s just about one year before the federal requirement will go into effect.

Starting May 3, 2023, any Pennsylvania driver’s licenses that are not Real IDs will no longer be accepted as proof of identification for domestic air travel. It isn’t mandatory, though; you can still travel without a Real ID if you bring another form of identification, such as a valid U.S. passport or military ID. 

You won’t need a Real ID to drive, vote, access hospitals, visit the post office, access federal courts or to receive federal benefits, like Social Security or veterans’ benefits. You will, however, need one (or an alternative form of federal identification) to board domestic commercial flights, enter a military base or enter a federal facility, such as Downtown’s U.S. Courthouse, that requires ID at the door.

To obtain your Real ID, citizens will need the following: 

  • Proof of identity, like an original or certified copy of your birth certificate or a valid U.S. passport.
  • Proof of Social Security number — your Social Security card with your current legal name.
  • Proof of current, physical Pennsylvania address, like a current driver’s license or ID, vehicle registration or a utility bill with the same name and address.
  • Proof of all legal name changes, if your current legal name is different from what’s reflected on the proof of identity document. This could include a certified marriage license, court order approving a name change or an official amended birth certificate.

If you’re not yet a U.S. citizen, you’ll need:

  • 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

Your Real ID will cost $30, plus an annual renewal fee. Renewal fees for a four-year driver’s license are $30.50 and $31.50 for a photo ID. The expiration date of your first Real ID card will include any time remaining on your existing license, plus an additional four years. The only exception is if you’re older than 65 and have a two-year license. 

Once you submit all your required documents, you should receive your Real ID in the mail within 15 business days. You can also visit one of the state’s 13 Real ID centers to obtain the new card over-the-counter if you prefer.

The deadline comes after a slew of pandemic-era postponements. The original deadline was Oct. 1, 2021.

Since March 2019, the state Department of Transportation has distributed about 1.6 million Real IDs out of 8.6 million customers. It estimates that 6.7 million Pennsylvanians currently have licenses or IDs that are not Real ID-compliant.

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