The REAL ID Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 2005, requires changes to state standards, procedures and requirements for the issuance of driver's licenses and identification cards, if they are to be accepted as identity documents by the federal government.
On May 26, 2017, Gov. Wolf signed SB 133 (Act 3 of 2017), which will allow Pennsylvania to issue REAL ID-compliant driver licenses and identification cards, which can be used to access airports and federal facilities.
Pennsylvania has been granted an extension until June 6, 2017 from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and with the passage of SB 133 (Act 3 of 2017), it will seek an additional extension.
Under the federal REAL ID Act, beginning January 22, 2018, residents in states which have not come into compliance with federal requirements or obtained an extension will need to show an alternative form of identification such as a passport at airports and when accessing federal buildings and military bases. PennDOT anticipates the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will continue to issue extensions to Pennsylvania until REAL ID products are available for residents. Under SB 133, no Pennsylvania resident will be required to get a REAL ID-compliant driver license or identification card, but residents who choose to do so will be able to use those forms of identification when the new federal requirements go into effect.
System, building infrastructure and process changes will be necessary for Pennsylvania to issue REAL ID-compliant products. Work will begin immediately and PennDOT estimates REAL ID compliant driver licenses and identification cards will be available by March 2019. This will allow ample time for customers who want a REAL ID product to get one before the final DHS effective date of October 1, 2020.