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Real ID extension request submitted for Pennsylvania

Public can still use current ID to board flights

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania has submitted a request for a Real ID enforcement extension from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to PennDOT.

"Per federal requirements, persons without a state-issued Real ID compliant driver's license must present an alternative form of identification, unless the state issuing the driver's license has an extension granted by the Department of Homeland Security."

Starting October 1, 2020, every person who travels by air will need a Real ID-compliant driver's license to board domestic commercial aircrafts.

The Real ID Act, passed in 2005, sets standards for the issuance of identification sources. It establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and prohibits federal agencies from accepting identification cards that don't meet these standards, the website states. 

To date, individuals can board domestic flights with their current license, which will be acceptable until at least January 22, 2018.

PennDOT, however, said it plans to submit a request to the Department of Homeland Security for an extension until October 1, 2020. After that, Pennsylvanians will need to have a Real ID complaint license or an accepted alternative identification approved by TSA to board domestic commercial flights.

According to PennDOT, you are not required to have a Real ID. If you have a valid U.S. passport, military ID or another federally approved identification, you can use it as your form of identification to pass TSA checkpoints at airports nationwide. 

The Department of Homeland Security's website breaks it down:

  • Starting January 22, 2018, passengers who have driver’s licenses issued by a state that is not yet compliant with Real ID and that has not received an extension will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel.
  • Passengers who have licenses issued by a state that is compliant or that has an extension to become compliant with Real ID requirements may continue to use their licenses as usual. 
  • Starting October 1, 2020, every air traveler will need to present a Real ID-compliant license or another acceptable form of identification for domestic air travel. A Real ID compliant license is one that meets, and is issued by a state that complies with, the Real ID Act’s security standards.  

You do not need a Real ID to drive, vote, access a hospital, apply for or receive federal benefits you are entitled to, or to participate in law enforcement proceedings, according to PennDOT.

If you do want to acquire a Real ID, they will be available spring 2019. The only visible difference is the ID will be marked with a gold star.

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