Sr. Public Aff. Specialist, PA/DE
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PHILADELPHIA, PA (October 1, 2020) – Domestic air travel is about to change for Pennsylvania residents. Beginning October 1, 2021, Pennsylvanians will need a REAL ID-compliant driver's license, photo ID card, or another form of federally-acceptable identification (such as a valid passport or military ID) to board a domestic commercial flight.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has resumed issuing REAL IDs at reopened Driver License Centers offering driver license services, following suspending the issuing REAL IDs throughout the state in March 2020 due to COVID-19.
Additionally, the federal Department of Homeland Security postponed the enforcement date for REAL ID from October 1, 2020 to October 1, 2021 in response to COVID-19 and the national emergency declaration.
REAL ID is optional in Pennsylvania and now residents who want a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or photo ID card can once again apply for one ahead of the October 2021 federal enforcement date.
“Pennsylvania residents who plan to travel domestically by plane should take advantage of the opportunity to get their REAL ID identification sooner rather than later,” said Debby Calvert, Managing Director of Travel for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Travelers interested in obtaining a REAL ID should begin the application process ahead of time to ensure they do not experience any travel delays or postponements. A REAL ID or valid passport, will be required for all domestic flights beginning in October 2021.”
AAA urges Pennsylvanians to learn more about REAL ID before all Pennsylvania air travelers are required to have a REAL ID or valid passport in order to board a domestic flight beginning October 1, 2021.
“AAA travel experts are advising their Pennsylvania clients that getting a REAL ID sooner rather than later is the best way to save time and potential last-minute scrambling when planning air travel,” said Karen Fisher, AAA Travel Agent. “October of 2021 may seem like a long time from now but planning can start early for trips like a destination wedding or family reunion.”
What is REAL ID?
The REAL ID Act is a federal law that affects how states issue driver’s licenses and photo ID cards if they’re going to be used for certain federal purposes, such as boarding a domestic commercial flight, access to military installations or entering a secure federal building that requires federally acceptable ID at the door.
Do You Have to Get a REAL ID?
REAL ID is optional for Pennsylvania residents. You will be able to get either a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card, or a standard driver’s license or identification card. If you do not get a REAL ID, you must have an alternate form of federally-acceptable identification (valid passport, military ID, etc.) to board domestic commercial flights, access military installations, and enter certain federal facilities that require federally acceptable ID after October 1, 2021.
It is NOT necessary to have a REAL ID to:
What is the process to apply for a REAL ID?
Applicants need to bring the following documents:
For more info on required documents, visit PennDOT.gov/REALID.
Receiving your REAL ID
The REAL ID card costs $30 (one-time fee), plus $31.50 for renewing the existing non-commercial license or ID card for another four years. The time for the new card will be added to any time left on the existing card (driver’s license or non-driver ID) so applicants won’t lose time they previously purchased.
Visit PennDOT.gov/REALID to learn more.
About REAL ID
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on December 20, 2013 a phased enforcement plan for the REAL ID Act (the Act), as passed by Congress, that will implement the Act in a measured, fair, and responsible way.
Secure driver's licenses and identification documents are a vital component of our national security framework. The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, no sooner than 2016, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.
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