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The Real ID deadline is approaching—here's what you need to know | Travel Smart

By 2023, Pennsylvanians will need to have either a Real ID compliant license/identification card or another form of acceptable identification when traveling.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — The deadline to get your Real ID is May 3, 2023.

But you may ask: "What does that mean to me?" 

“The Real ID Act is a federal law that affects state issued driver's licenses and ID cards, if they are going to be acceptable for federal purposes," Diego Sandino with PennDOT said. "Such as boarding a domestic commercial flight or entering a military installation or federal facility that requires ID."  

The Department of Homeland Security extended the deadline to get a Real ID designation on your ID due to COVID-19. Sandino says it is optional for Pennsylvania residents. 

“There is no requirement that a resident obtain a Real ID," he said. "PennDOT continues to offer the standard issued driver's licenses and photo ID cards." 

However, if you decide a Real ID isn’t for you, after the May 3, 2023 deadline... 

“Pennsylvanians will need to have either a Real ID compliant license or identification card or another form of federally acceptable identification,” Sandino said.  

If you choose to get a Real ID, there are a couple documents you will need to present before receiving your Real ID. The first is proof of identity, like a birth certificate or U.S. passport. The second thing is a Social Security card, then two proofs of residency within Pennsylvania, and then any proof of legal name changes if a name change has taken place. 

The deadline may not be until 2023, but if you're serious about getting one, it wouldn't hurt to start early, Sandino said. 

“It’s a great time to just sit down and figure out the documents that you have, and if you have them all great, but if you do need to replace one of those documents, it’s a great time to do that so you’re not in a rush before that deadline hits," Sandino said.

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