PennDOT has announced it has opened online application for REAL ID pre-verification for customers who are interested in obtaining a REAL ID and obtained their first Pennsylvania driver’s license or photo ID card after September 2003.
“Our goal is to offer REAL ID to our customers in a way that is customer-focused and efficient,” said Secretary of Transportation Leslie S. Richards in making the announcement. “We are happy to offer these customers an opportunity to obtain a voluntary REAL ID without having to visit a driver’s license center.”
PennDOT may already have electronic documents on file for approximately 35 percent of its total customers, individuals who received their first PA driver’s license or ID card after September 2003.
Effective March 1, PennDOT will begin sending postcards to eligible customers inviting them to visit PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website to request that PennDOT confirm their documents are on file. PennDOT customers without internet access may call PennDOT’s Customer Call Center at 717-412-5300 or visit a PennDOT Online Messenger (PDF) for assistance with pre-verification.
Once a customer has completed the pre-verification application process, PennDOT staff will review the customer’s record and verify which documents are on file. The customer will receive follow-up communication from PennDOT regarding the status of their application. Customers are not pre-verified until they have completed the online pre-verification process and received confirmation from PennDOT that all documents are on file.
If they are, PennDOT will mark the customer’s record as “verified,” and after REAL ID products are available in spring 2019, the customer can opt into the REAL ID program online, pay the one-time $30 fee, plus their renewal fee (the REAL ID product will include any time left on the current license plus the period of renewal) and their REAL ID product will be sent through the mail, eliminating any need for this customer to visit a Driver License Center.
If PennDOT does NOT have all the customer’s documents on file, they will receive communication from PennDOT informing them that they will need to bring their REAL ID documentation into any PennDOT Driver’s License Center beginning in September 2018 for in-person pre-verification.
REAL ID is optional for Pennsylvania residents. A federally-accepted form of identification (whether it’s the forthcoming Pennsylvania REAL ID driver’s license or ID card, a U.S. Passport/Passport Card, a military ID, etc.) must be used as identification to board a commercial flight or visit a secure federal building on and after October 1, 2020.
Until May 2017, Pennsylvania law prohibited PennDOT from complying with the federal REAL ID Act. Signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf, Act 3 of 2017 repealed this prior legislation and allowed PennDOT to seek REAL ID compliance.
Pennsylvania is under an enforcement extension from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) until October 10, 2018, which means that Pennsylvanians may use their current driver’s license or ID card to board commercial aircraft or enter federal facilities that require ID until at least that date. Pennsylvania will continue to apply for extensions from DHS until becoming fully compliant with the REAL ID Act. PennDOT is committed to offering REAL ID products at the customer’s option in spring 2019.