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Jana Tidwell
Public Relations Manager, PA
O: (302) 299-4426
C: (302) 353-6563

Kathleen Zinszer
Sr. Public Aff. Specialist, CT/DE/NJ/PA
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AAA Mid-Atlantic: REAL ID Gets Real for PA Residents


Come January, PA travelers need more than their driver’s license at airport security; AAA advises travelers to plan ahead for 2018 travel.


PHILADELPHIA, PA (October 11, 2017) – Pennsylvania travelers will soon need a form of identification other than the state issued driver’s license for air travel and for entrance into Federal building and institutions – they will need a REAL ID.


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that it is currently reviewing REAL ID extension requests from the 24 states with extensions that expired yesterday, October 10, 2017.  During this extended review period, federal agencies (including TSA) will continue to accept driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by these states in accordance with each agency’s policies and there will be no change in enforcement status for these states.


It is important to note that if DHS does not grant any further extensions prior to the 2018 deadline, residents from these states – including Pennsylvania – will be required to show another form of identification for domestic air travel. For a complete list of acceptable identification documentation, check the TSA website.


“AAA has long supported Pennsylvania adopting REAL ID, ensuring Pennsylvania identification will comply with standards required by the Federal REAL ID Act of 2005, allowing air travelers to move through security checkpoints more efficiently,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “However, due to the current extended grace period ahead of the January 22, 2018 enforcement deadline, AAA urges travelers to begin the process of applying for and obtaining the proper federally issued identification if they plan to travel by air in 2018.”


Information on applying for a U.S. passport is available on the U.S. Department of State website. Current processing time is 4-6 weeks. If you need a passport quickly, expedited services are available for an additional fee. AAA members can visit their local AAA office to obtain passport photos.


What is REAL ID?

Following a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005 that “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification such as driver’s licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards, and prohibits Federal agencies such as the TSA from accepting, for official purposes, licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards.


REAL ID in Pennsylvania

In May 2017, Governor Tom Wolf signed SB133, known as the Pennsylvania REAL ID Compliance Act (Act 3 of 2017), which will allow Pennsylvania to offer residents an optional REAL ID-compliant driver license or state identification card, which can be used to access airports, and federal facilities.  PennDOT has begun work on the implementation of REAL ID, and estimates REAL ID-compliant driver licenses and identification cards will be available at the customer’s option in March 2019, allowing ample time for customers who want a REAL ID product to get one before the final DHS effective date of October 1, 2020.  Pennsylvania’s most recent REAL ID enforcement extension expired October 10, 2017.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is currently reviewing Pennsylvania request for another extension.


REAL ID Deadlines

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials will continue to accept valid driver’s licenses and/or approved identification cards for domestic commercial air travel from residents of states granted extensions until January 22, 2018. Beginning January 22, 2018, TSA will be recognizing REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses from the 26 states and the District of Columbia that already meet all the DHS security requirements.  The final deadline for full implementation of REAL ID is October 1, 2020.



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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Pennsylvania.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information, visit

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