Deadline for REAL ID in Pennsylvania is May 2025

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation joined the federal Transportation Safety Administration and the Harrisburg International Airport to remind Pennsylvanians that starting May 7, 2025, they will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, photo ID card, or other form of federally acceptable identification (such as a valid passport or military ID) to board a domestic commercial flight or enter certain federal facilities. To date, PennDOT has issued more than 2.3 million REAL ID products.

“The REAL ID enforcement deadline is quickly approaching,” said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. “REAL ID is optional in Pennsylvania, but if you think you’ll need one – especially if you plan on flying – we recommend that you start the process now.”

REAL ID is a federal law that affects how states issue driver’s licenses and ID cards  acceptable for federal purposes, like boarding a commercial flight or entering certain federal facilities. 

“REAL ID is a coordinated effort by the federal government to improve the reliability and accuracy of driver licenses and identification cards,” said TSA Federal Security Director Karen Keys-Turner. “The improvements are intended to inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.”

Pennsylvanians can obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card by presenting documents for verification and processing at any PennDOT driver license center. Federal regulations require that to be issued a REAL ID-compliant product, PennDOT must verify the below documents:

  • Proof of Identity: examples include an original or certified copy of a birth certificate filed with the State Office of Vital Records/Statistics with a raised seal/embossed or a valid, unexpired U.S. Passport.
  • Proof of Social Security Number (proof must display currently legal name and full nine digits of the Social Security Number): examples include a Social Security card, a W-2 form, an SSA-1099 form, a non-SSA-1099 form or a pay stub.
  • Two Proofs of Current, Physical PA 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 (if current legal name is different than what is reflected on proof of identity document): examples include a certified marriage certificate(s) issued by the County Court for each marriage, court order(s) approving a change in legal name or amended birth certificate issued by the State Office of Vital Records/Statistics. If the customer’s current name is the same as what is reflected on proof of identity document (usually birth certificate or passport), they do not need to show proof of legal name changes.

“We are encouraging every Pennsylvanian to get a REAL ID as soon as possible,” said Harrisburg International Airport Executive Director Timothy J. Edwards. “We do not want anyone to arrive at the TSA Checkpoint at Harrisburg International Airport being denied access to their flight because they don’t have an approved form of Identification.  Even if you aren’t planning to fly anytime soon, you need to get a REAL ID. Should a distant family emergency, or any other kind of last-minute travel need arise, without a REAL ID, quickly flying to that location will not be an option.”  

To get a REAL ID product, customers have three options:

  • Customers who received their first Pennsylvania driver’s license, learner’s permit, or photo ID card AFTER September 1, 2003 may already have their REAL ID documentation on file with PennDOT and can both apply for REAL ID pre-verification and order their REAL ID-compliant product online and it will be mailed to them within 15 business days.
  • Visit any PennDOT Driver’s License Center that is open for driver license services, have their documents verified and imaged, and their REAL ID product will be mailed to them within 15 business days.
  • Visit one of 13 REAL ID Centers and receive their REAL ID product over the counter at the time of service.

When a customer gets their first REAL ID product, they will pay a one-time fee of $30, plus a renewal fee (the current renewal fee is $39.50 for a four-year non-commercial driver’s license or $42.50 for a photo ID). The expiration date of their initial REAL ID product will include any time remaining on their existing non-REAL ID product, plus an additional four years, unless the customer is over 65 and has a two-year license. This expiration date structure means that the customer won’t lose time that they’ve already paid for. After the initial REAL ID product expires, the customer will pay no additional fee beyond regular renewal fees to renew a REAL ID product.

PennDOT also announced that “PennDOT Pop-Up” booths will be at various community events throughout the next year to assist with REAL ID opt-ins. Customers will have multiple opportunities statewide to obtain information about the REAL ID program, as well as the ability to opt-in, if desired. Pre-Verified customers may visit a “Pop-Up” to order their product and it will be mailed to them within 15 business days. Customers without the required documents on file can bring them to a “Pop-Up” to have them verified and imaged and may then order a REAL ID product to be mailed to them.