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Department of Homeland Security extends Pennsylvania’s REAL ID grace period

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The Department of Homeland Security has announced a REAL ID enforcement grace period through July 10, 2017, which means that Pennsylvania residents will not face access issues when entering federal facilities through that date.

The grace period goes into effect on Wednesday. It applies to states, including Pennsylvania, whose compliance extensions were set to expire today. Other states with extension expiration dates include Oregon, Washington, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Virginia, Alaska, and South Carolina.

Governor Tom Wolf signed SB 133 (Act 3 of 2017), also known as the Pennsylvania REAL ID Compliance Act, on May 26, repealing previous REAL ID non-participation legislation and allowing the commonwealth to provide REAL ID-compliant drivers licenses and ID cards. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation estimates that REAL ID-compliant drivers licenses and ID cards will be available my March of 2019. This will allow ample time for customers who want a REAL ID product to get one before the Department of Homeland Security’s final effective date of October 1, 2020.

Under the federal REAL ID Act, beginning January 22, 2018, residents in states that 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 residence.

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.

The enforcement grace period announced today applies only to entrance to federal facilities. There is no enforcement on commercial air travel until January 22, 2018.