PennDOT to Open 13 Over-the-Counter REAL ID Centers

PennDOT announced several new developments in its REAL ID rollout on Monday. | Current driver’s license image courtesy of PennDOT

The state is moving forward with plans to get residents on board with REAL ID.

PennDOT announced a few REAL ID developments on Monday, including information on when and where residents can apply for and obtain the soon-to-be-new-and-improved form of identification.

Starting September 4th, residents can apply for REAL ID pre-verification in PennDOT driver’s license centers. As a reminder, you’ll need the following documents to be issued a REAL-ID compliant product:

REAL IDs won’t become available until March — but if you bring those documents to a driver’s license center before then, PennDOT staff will image and save them to your record. Then, when REAL IDs do become available, you’ll get one sent through the mail.

In March, customers will have three options for obtaining a REAL ID:

  1. Pre-verified customers can order their ID online. (Pre-verified customers, who are currently eligible to apply for a REAL ID online, received their first Pa. driver’s license or ID card after September 2003.)
  2. If you’re not a pre-verified customer, you can visit a PennDOT driver’s license center to have your documents verified and imaged, pay a one-time fee of $30 to obtain the card, and have your REAL ID mailed to you within seven to 10 days.
  3. Or you can visit one of the REAL ID centers — which are coming soon.

The state will open 13 REAL ID centers (including one location in Philadelphia), when the identification products become available in March. The centers will allow residents to receive REAL IDs over-the-counter at the time of service.

PennDOT will retrofit six existing driver’s license centers as REAL ID centers, including at 2904 S. 70th Street in Southwest Philadelphia, as well as centers in Williamsport, Wilkes-Barre, Rockview in Centre County, Erie, and Altoona. Plus, the transportation agency will add five new locations in the following regions: Pittsburgh, King of Prussia, Allentown, Harrisburg, and Lancaster.

Still scratching your head and wondering why you need a REAL ID? In brief, they’re optional (you can keep getting a regular old driver’s license if you want) — but you will need them if you plan to board a commercial flight or visit a secure official government building after October 1st, 2020. (That’s because of the REAL ID Act of 2005, which mandates that state IDs must comply with certain minimum federal standards.) So, it’s a smart idea to get one.

For more information on REAL ID in Pa., including frequently asked questions and information on documents required to obtain a REAL ID, visit PennDOT’s website.

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