REAL ID is expected to be rolled out in Pennsylvania in March.
"We`re planning for March 1st, assuming we don`t have a big blizzard or something we expect that that`s going to be the case," said Alexis Campbell, PennDOT's Community Relations Coordinator.
You don't have to get a REAL ID.
Pennsylvania is an opt-in state.
"I think a lot of people will be very relieved to know they have the option and then for folks who don`t want it, they don`t have to worry about it either," said Campbell.
Starting October 1, 2020, the standard Pennsylvania ID will not be enough to get into a secured federal facility, like a military base or to get through TSA at an airport.
That's why REAL ID might be a good option for people who often fly.
There are some questions still about how much it will cost Pennsylvanians.
PennDOT officials say when you decided to get a real ID, you'll have to pay a one-time fee for that and a license renewal all in one.
"You`ll pay $30 for your REAL ID fee, the current renewal fee is $30.50, so your first real ID will cost you $60.50 if you`re a non-commercial driver."
That renewal fee became confusing for some people.
That PennDOT spokesperson says it will all work out.
Here's an example:
My license doesn't expire until 2022.
If I opt in to REAL ID, I'll have to renew my license - which means my REAL ID won't expire until 2026.
That way I'll get all the time I paid for.
Also keep in mind that the license renewal fee can go up every two years. It's based on the Consumer Price Index. It's $30.50 right now, that may change though in a few years.
"For people who have a lot of time left on your license, you`re going to probably get the most bang for your buck," said Campbell.
Another question people have is how and where you can get a Real ID.
If you got your first license or ID card in Pennsylvania after September of 2003, you can pre-verify on PennDOT's website.
I tried it and it took about one minute.
If you got your license before September of 2003, you can go to any PennDOT driver's Photo License Centers and bring these documents:Your original Birth certificate or passport
A social security card
Two proofs of Pennsylvania residency - which can be your PA license, PA vehicle registration, or even an utility bill with the same name and address.
Also, if you've changed your name, you'll need proof of that too.
Campbell says, "About 140,000 are pre-verified for REAL ID right now."
People can pre-verify in-person up until March 1st and online anytime they want.
If you are pre-verified, the process becomes pretty simple once REAL ID is available.
"You`ll be able to get your real ID mailed to you. You`ll just go online after March when they`re available, make your application, pay the required fees and your real ID will be mailed to you within 15 business days," said Campbell.
If you don`t pre-verify, you`ll have to bring your documents to any PennDOT Photo License Center and can get a REAL ID within 15 days.
Or, you can go to one of these locations - the new REAL ID Centers.
The two in our area are on Lincoln East Highway in East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County and on North Enola Road in East Pennsboro Township, Cumberland County.
At these locations, you can walk out with a REAL ID in the same day.
"As time goes on there will be more REAL ID centers throughout the state that will be added to our total."
PennDOT Estimates about 2.5 million people in Pennsylvania will want a REAL ID.
"Based on what we`ve seen in other states with similar programs, they`ve seen about 25-30% of their customers choose to get a real ID."
Also, if you're license is expiring soon - renew it!
PennDOT says you should not be driving with an expired license just because you're waiting for REAL ID.
Remember, once you renew, you'll get all the time you paid for.
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