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September 16, 2020

PennDOT resumes issuing Real ID's after months-long pause due to COVID-19

Deadline to obtain cards pushed to October 2021

PennDOT Licenses
REAL ID penndot card Courtesy of/PennDOT

PennDOT will resume issuing Real ID's once again after a pause for several months due to COVID-19.

Pennsylvania residents will once again be able to get Real ID's from centers throughout the state, after not being able to do so for several months due to COVID-19.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that its Drivers License Centers will resume issuing the identification cards starting Sept. 16. 

Issuance of Real ID's had been paused throughout Pennsylvania in March 2020 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Real ID's are a new format of drivers license or identification card that was created by federal authorities in the wake of the 9/11 terrorists attacks. The cards create an extra layer of security by requiring people to present when passing through airport security or entering federal buildings.

Possession of Real ID's is currently not mandatory for Pennsylvania residents.

The REAL ID program was stalled for years due to card issuing costs and did not begin distribution until 2019. More than 900,000 Pennsylvania residents have opted into the Real ID program since then.

A deadline that made Real ID's mandatory for U.S. citizens had been set for October 2020, and pushed to October 2021 by the Department of Homeland Security during the public health crisis. After that date, residents will have to obtain a Real ID or use a valid passport or military ID.

Those who wish to obtain a Real ID now can visit a PennDOT driver's license center in person, and have the card mailed to them within 15 days. Residents who would rather not visit the center in person can apply online if they have been pre-verified.

The documents required for getting a Real ID in person or online are:

Proof of Identity: Examples include an original or certified copy of a birth certificate filed with the Pennsylvania Office of Vital Records/Statistics with a raised seal/embossed or valid, unexpired, U.S. Passport.

Proof of Social Security Number: Social security card in current legal name.

Two Proofs of Current, Physical Pennsylvania Address: Examples include a current, unexpired PA driver's license or identification card, vehicle registration or a utility bill with the same name and address.

Proof of all Legal Name Changes: Examples include a certified marriage certificate(s) issued by a county court for each marriage, court order(s) approving a change in legal name or amended birth certificate issued by the Pennsylvania Office of Vital Records/Statistics.

Real ID's cost $30 and plus a one-time renewal fee of $30.50. The card then is valid for the reminder of time on one's existing non-Real ID product plus four years. If an individual is older than 65 years old the card will last at least two years. 

Once the card expires, only renewal fees are required. Learn more about Real ID's here.

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