REAL ID - What You Need to Know

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended the compliance deadline for when Pennsylvania residents must use a REAL ID or other acceptable forms of enhanced identification. Under this extension, Pennsylvania residents can use their existing driver licenses through Oct. 10, 2018. This will apply to both federal facilities and domestic airline travel.

PennDOT has begun work on the implementation of REAL ID and estimates that REAL ID-compliant driver licenses and identification cards will be available in PA, as an option for residents, in March 2019. 

DHS has established Oct. 1, 2020, to be the final REAL ID compliance deadline for all states.

For a complete list of other acceptable alternate identifications, please visit the TSA Website. Information on Pennsylvania’s REAL ID, including frequently asked questions, is available at

Pennsylvania’s REAL ID Background Information: 

On May 26, 2017, Act 3, the Pennsylvania REAL ID Compliance Act, was signed into law. In drafting the law, the General Assembly provided flexibility for Pennsylvanians to decide whether or not they want to purchase a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card. 

Once the federal REAL ID Act is fully implemented, those with Pennsylvania’s REAL ID will be able to use the REAL ID for entry into federal facilities, where enhanced ID is required, and for domestic commercial air travel. 

Residents who choose to keep their standard driver’s license or photo ID will be required to have an additional acceptable alternate type of identification, such as a passport or military ID, to board an airplane or enter a secure federal building. This applies both after full implementation of the federal law and in the event that Pennsylvania is not granted any more extensions. 

A passport will still be required for international travel. 

The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) does not and will not require children under age 18 to provide an ID when traveling with an adult companion within the United States. The adult companion will need acceptable identification. 

Once REAL ID is fully implemented, REAL ID enforcement notices will be posted at federal and military facilities requiring a REAL ID-compliant license or acceptable alternative ID for entrance. 

Generally, REAL ID-compliant ID will be needed for entry into nuclear power stations, military installations, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Department of Energy (DOE) offices. Federal buildings NOT likely to post REAL ID enforcement notices include:

  • Federal courthouses (except those with restricted areas or semi-restricted areas).

  • General Services Administration (GSA) buildings with diverse public benefits offices, including immigration services and federal law enforcement agencies.

  • Veterans Administration service centers and health care facilities.

  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offices.

  • Social Security offices.

  • Post Offices.

  • Department of the Interior Agencies.

  • National parks and monuments.