Pa. coronavirus recovery: REAL ID service to resume

A REAL ID driver’s license sample for Pennsylvania. (PennDOT)

A REAL ID driver’s license sample for Pennsylvania. (PennDOT)

Pennsylvania residents can update their driver’s licenses to meet federal standards for the first time since March, when the REAL ID service was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.

REAL ID is a federal law directing states to issue driver’s licenses that can be used for federal purposes, such as traveling via plane within the U.S., or entering a secure federal building.

Since March of last year, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has processed about 4 million customers, with more than 912,000 individuals choosing to opt in to the REAL ID program.

The federal Department of Homeland Security postponed the enforcement date for REAL ID from October 1, 2020 to October 1, 2021, because of COVID-19.

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Pennsylvanians are not required to obtain the federal driver’s license, and PennDOT continues to offer standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs.

Those who wish to update their driver’s license must bring proof of identity, social security number and physical address. Customers can visit any PennDOT Driver’s License Center to process the license, which will be received within 15 days, or they can visit one of 12 REAL ID Centers and receive their license over the counter at the time of service. Pennsylvanians may also order their REAL ID online if they’ve been pre-verified.

Customers are charged a one-time $30 fee, plus a renewal fee. The expiration date of a person’s federal license will include any time remaining on their existing driver’s license, plus an additional four years — unless the customer is over 65 and has a two-year license.

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