Begin Main Content Area

New Driver's License Design

In June 2017, PennDOT began issuing new driver's licenses and photo ID cards with updated security features and design.

Adult_DL_OrganDonor.jpgAs a measure to help protect against counterfeiting, fraud and identity theft, PennDOT makes periodic improvements to its products and processes. Upon the expiration of the previous contract with the commonwealth’s driver license vendor and the issuance of a new contract, PennDOT has updated the design and enhanced the security features of its driver license and identification card products. Over the last 22 months, PennDOT has worked with MorphoTrust USA on planning, design and deployment of this major new security enhancement initiative. The new contract became effective in August 2015.  This update is unrelated to the REAL ID Act.     

The pilot deployment for the new products will begin on June 19, 2017 at the Harrisburg location. All Driver and Photo centers will transition to the new products by the end of October 2017. The new products will be phased in over the next four-year renewal cycle and will replace existing products. Both current and new card designs will be in circulation during the transition period.

The new cards are not currently REAL ID-compliant. System, infrastructure and process changes will be necessary for Pennsylvania to issue REAL ID-compliant products. PennDOT anticipates that REAL ID-compliant driver licenses and identification cards will be available at customer’s option in 2019.

Current cards will be phased out during the normal renewal process – no need to replace current products, although customers are welcome to do so by requesting a duplicate product and paying the appropriate fee.

The cards look very different, but they also have additional enhanced security features, which improve fraud prevention and protect from counterfeiting and alteration. The new cards also comply with the most recent American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators’ (AAMVA) security specifications.

Some of the enhanced features include:

  • Elimination of the magnetic strip on the back of the card
  • Larger primary portrait and smaller "ghost" portrait
  • 1D and 2D barcodes, which contain data visible on the front of the card
  • Laser perforation - the Keystone outline with “PA” is embedded into the card stock and can be observed by holding the card up to any light source
  • Laminate - Each card is laminated with an optically-variable pattern with the state motto, “Virtue, Liberty, Independence,” Keystone outline and “1787,” the year when the U.S. constitution was ratified by Pennsylvania.