Readshaw hopes to clear up confusion over REAL ID

New ID not mandatory, may be useful for residents who are frequent flyers

HARRISBURG, Oct. 11 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, said he hopes to clear up confusion about what REAL ID is and why residents might decide they want to purchase one when they become available next spring.  

“I’ve been hearing from constituents who still have many questions about what REAL ID is and whether it’s necessary,” Readshaw said. “I want people to understand that they are not required to get a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card, but they may find one useful depending on their needs.

“The federal government passed the REAL ID Act in response to 9/11. The act creates certain minimum standards that all state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards must meet in order to be accepted for certain purposes. Those purposes include boarding domestic commercial flights and entering military bases and other high-security federal facilities.

“Although many states, including Pennsylvania, have been given extensions to come into full compliance with the act, the ‘hard’ deadline for card-based enforcement is October 1, 2020. As of that date, residents will no longer be able to use their regular state-issued driver’s license or identification card to board domestic commercial flights, visit military bases or enter other high-security federal facilities. Instead, they will either have to use the new REAL ID or rely on their passport, military ID or other form of federally accepted identification.”
Readshaw said it’s up to residents to decide whether they think they need a REAL ID.

“If you’re a frequent flyer, for example, and you want to continue using your driver’s license as identification to board domestic flights after the October 1, 2020, enforcement date, you might want to consider getting a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license,” Readshaw said. “If you don’t fly that often and are willing to use your passport as identification for domestic flights, you may decide that you don’t need one.”

Readshaw emphasized that residents do not need a REAL ID to enter regular federal buildings such as post offices, to apply for or receive veterans’ or Social Security benefits, to vote or register to vote, or to access hospitals or health clinics.

A REAL ID costs $30 in addition to the current renewal fee of $30.50 for a four-year, non-commercial driver’s license or a photo ID. The expiration date of the initial REAL ID will include any time remaining on the current license plus an additional four years – unless the license holder is over age 65 and has a two-year license. After the initial REAL ID expires, the holder will pay just the regular renewal fee.

Readshaw advised interested residents to visit PennDOT’s website at and click on the REAL ID icon with the star to learn more details, including how to become pre-verified for a REAL ID.

He also advised residents to check out the video on PennDOT’s Facebook page in which agency staff answer questions about the program.

Readshaw added that residents can also call his district office at (412) 881-4208 if they have questions.