Welcome to the Real ID Online Expo

Information to help you navigate the process of obtaining a Real ID.

What is REAL ID?

The REAL ID Act is a federal law passed by Congress after Sept. 11, 2001, that establishes specific minimum federal standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards to be accepted for certain federal purposes, like entering a federal building or boarding a domestic commercial flight. Enforcement of the REAL ID Act begins on October 1, 2020.

Beginning October 1, 2020, Pennsylvanians will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, photo ID card, or another form of federally-acceptable identification (such as a valid passport or military ID) to board a domestic commercial flight or enter a federal building or military installation that requires ID. A U.S. Passport is also an acceptable form of identification.

REAL ID is currently available through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and it is optional for Pennsylvania residents.

The chart below shows the difference between a standard ID or driver’s license, and a REAL ID:

REAL ID Comparison Chart

REAL ID Fee:

You will pay a one-time fee of $30, plus a renewal fee (current renewal fee is $30.50 for a four-year non-commercial driver’s license or a photo ID). The expiration date of the initial REAL ID product will include any time remaining on your current license or ID card, plus an additional four years, unless you are over 65 and have a two-year license.

This expiration date structure means that you won’t “lose” time that you’ve already paid for. After the initial REAL ID product expires, the customer will pay no additional fee, beyond regular renewal fees, to renew a REAL ID product.

REAL ID License Card Design:

The REAL ID-compliant product will be marked with a gold star. REAL ID products are produced using the same security features as standard-issued products.

After March 2019, standard-issue, non-REAL ID driver’s licenses and ID cards will also look different. Per federal REAL ID regulations, non-REAL IDs must be clearly labeled with the words “Not for REAL ID Purposes.”

Below are examples of what REAL ID and standard-issue products will look like:

REAL ID Card Examples

Pre-Verification/Standard Verification Steps and Documents Required

  • Online Pre-Verification

If you received your first Pennsylvania learner’s permit, driver’s license or photo ID after September 1, 2003, you are eligible to apply for REAL ID pre-verification online. Visit PennDOT’s Online Pre-Verification page for more information on this process.

  • Standard Verification

If you received your first Pennsylvania learner’s permit, driver’s license or photo ID before September 1, 2003, you will need to take your documents to a PennDOT Driver License Center or REAL ID Center to have your documents verified and imaged in order to receive your REAL ID. For more information on locations where you can have your documents verified and imaged, please click on the Where I Can Obtain My REAL ID page. (link to this page)

When Pennsylvanians apply for a REAL ID through a PennDOT Driver License Center, they will need to present original versions or certified copies (if applicable) of the following documents, per federal regulations:

All PennDOT Driver License Centers (DLC) will be able to process a REAL ID transaction.

ONLY 12 PennDOT Driver License Centers will issue the REAL ID product over the counter. Customers who visit this location with the necessary paperwork can leave with the REAL ID product. The 12 locations are listed below:

Location NameLocation AddressCounty
Altoona​1738A 9th Ave., Altoona PA​Blair
​Bridgeville​1025 Washington Pike, Rt. 50, Bridgeville PA​Allegheny
​Erie​Summit Towne Center, 7200 Peach St., Erie​Erie
​King of Prussia​143 S. Gulph Road, King of Prussia ​Montgomery
​Lancaster East​2090 Lincoln Highway East., Lancaster​Lancaster
​Norristown​1700 Markley St., Norristown​Montgomery
​Rockview​812 W. College Ave., Pleasant Gap​Centre
​South 70th St.​2904 South 70th St., Philadelphia​Philadelphia
Summerdale​429 North Enola Road, Enola​Cumberland
​Whitehall​1101 MacArthur Road, Allentown​Lehigh
​Wilkes-Barre​1085 Hanover St., Wilkes-Barre PA​Luzerne
​Williamsport​1782 E. 3rd St., Williamsport PA​Lycoming

The other 64 PennDOT Driver License Centers can process REAL ID transactions to have that product centrally issued. The REAL ID product will be mailed to the customer within 15 business days and they will leave the driver license center with a 30-day temporary driving receipt.

  • Documents Required

Want to make sure you have everything you need? Download the Real ID Checklist.

  1. Proof of Identity: Examples: Original or certified copy of a birth certificate with a raised/embossed seal (not a sticker) or valid U.S. Passport
    *Please note that hospital or commemorative certificates are not acceptable
  2. Proof of Social Security Number: Example: Social security card
    *Please note that the name on your social security card MUST match the name on your proof of identity document
  3. Proof of all Legal Name Changes: Examples: Certified marriage certificate or court order issued by your county’s family court
    *Please note: You must show a complete name change history that links your birth certificate name to your current name. If you have a valid U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card with your legal name, you may use that as your name change document.
  4. Two Proofs of Current, Physical PA Address: Examples: Current, unexpired PA license or ID, PA vehicle registration, auto insurance card, utility bill with the same name and address

Proof of Identity

You will need to provide ONE document proving your identity and your lawful status in the United States when applying for a REAL ID.

All documents MUST be original versions or certified copies (if applicable) — no photocopies will be accepted.

If you are a U.S. citizen, acceptable documents include: 

  • A United States birth certificate with a raised seal, issued by an authorized government agency, including U.S. territories and Puerto Rico (click here to learn more about what is considered an acceptable birth certificate)

Please note: souvenir or hospital certificates will not be accepted — it must be an original or certified copy filed with a U.S. state or territory office of vital statistics or equivalent agency in your state of birth

  • A valid United States passport or passport card. Please note: If you are using a passport as your proof of identity and your passport reflects your current name, YOU DO NOT NEED TO SHOW PROOF OF NAME CHANGE.
  • Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (USCIS Form N-560) or Consular Report of Birth Abroad (DOS Form FS-240)
  • Certificate of Naturalization (USCIS Form N-550 or N-570)

If you are a lawfully present non-U.S. citizen, acceptable documents include: 

  • I-551 Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
  • Passport with I-551 stamp
  • Machine-readable Immigrant Visa
  • Re-entry Permit I-327 

Additional information for non-U.S. citizens can be found here.

All documents MUST be original versions or certified copies (if applicable) — no photocopies will be accepted. 

There are many different types of Birth Notifications, but Certified Birth Certificates must:

  • Be State issued
  • Contain a raised/embossed seal
  • Contain a signature from an official office of vital records

If you do not have your birth certificate in your possession, you need to contact your state or county Department of Health office in the state of your birth and request an original or certified copy. Some states may take up to six months to process duplicate birth certificates, so it is advisable to begin this process right away.

Please view images of acceptable birth certificates in the examples below.

PA Birth Certificate – Long Form:

PA Birth Certificate – Short Form:

Other Examples of Acceptable Birth Certificates:

Unacceptable Birth Certificate Examples:

Proof of Social Security Number

You must present your Social Security card when applying for a REAL ID. Your card must be original.

The name on your Social Security card MUST MATCH the name on your proof of identity document.

If you can’t find your Social Security card, you can get a replacement card from the Social Security Administration at no cost, and you may qualify to order a replacement card online. Visit the Social Security Administration’s website for details and information on obtaining a replacement card. If you need to visit a Social Security office to obtain a replacement card, use this tool to find the location nearest you.

If you do not have a social security number, you must provide an original copy of your SSA ineligibility letter.

The social security card was created in 1936, and there are over 50 different versions all of which are valid.

  • Unlike birth certificates Social Security cards do not vary by jurisdiction
  • COLUMNS –Certified Social Security cards have COLUMNS
  • Certified Social Security cards have a SEAL
  • Social Security cards can be signed or unsigned for REAL ID verification
  • Social Security cards can be laminated or non-laminated for REAL ID verification

Example of Acceptable Social Security card:

Two (2) Proofs of Currents , Physical PA Address

You will need to provide TWO documents to prove your Pennsylvania residency when applying for a REAL ID. Examples of acceptable residency documents include: 

  • Current, unexpired PA driver’s license or photo ID card
  • PA vehicle registration card
  • Auto insurance card
  • A computer-generated utility bill showing your name and address
  • A W-2 form
  • Tax records
  • Lease agreements or mortgage documents

Proof of all Legal Name Changes (if applicable)

If your current legal name, date of birth, or gender designation is different from the information on your birth certificate or legal status document, you must show legal proof of the change. Please note: If you are using a passport as your proof of identity and your passport reflects your current name, YOU DO NOT NEED TO SHOW PROOF OF NAME CHANGE.

If you have been married more than once, you need to show a marriage certificate that shows the transition between names. You do NOT need to show divorce paperwork UNLESS you returned to your maiden name.

For additional information on name changes, visit the Name Change Information page.

Acceptable documents supporting a change include:

  • Name change or date of birth change:
    • Certified certificate or divorce decree issued by your county’s family court
    • Court order approving a change of legal name or date of birth
    • Original or certified copy of an amended birth certificate showing a change of name
  • Gender designation:
    • A certified, amended birth certificate with a raised seal
    • A completed DL-32 form (PDF)

REAL ID – Commercial Driver License

REAL ID-compliant versions of all Pennsylvania driver’s license types are available, including commercial driver’s licenses.

Transportation Worker Identification Credentials, or TWIC CardsOpens In A New Window , are on TSA’s list acceptable identification  to board a domestic flight. If you have a TWIC card, that will be acceptable ID for boarding a domestic flight after October 1, 2020.

Please note: CDL holders are currently NOT eligible to apply for REAL ID online – you must apply in person at a PennDOT Driver License Center.

Document Requirements

While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires the presentation of certain documents for CDL renewals, document requirements for REAL ID are different. If a CDL holder chooses to get a REAL ID, they are still required to present the required documents to PennDOT.

U.S. citizens will need to present original versions or certified copies (if applicable) of the following documents, per federal regulations. These documents can be taken to any PennDOT Driver License Center for pre-verification:

  • Proof of Identity
    • Examples: Original or certified copy of a birth certificate with a raised/embossed seal (not a sticker) or valid U.S. Passport
      *Please note that hospital or commemorative certificates are not acceptable
  • Proof of Social Security Number
    • Example: Social security card
      *Please note that the name on your social security card MUST match the name on your proof of identity document
  • Two Proofs of Current, Physical PA Address
    • Examples: Current, unexpired PA license or ID, PA vehicle registration, auto insurance card, utility bill with the same name and address
  • Proof of all Legal Name Changes (if applicable)
  • Examples: Certified marriage certificate or court order issued by your county’s family court
    *Please note: You must show a complete name change history that links your birth certificate name to your current name. If you have a valid U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card with your legal name, you may use that as your name change document.

For information on REAL ID for non-U.S. citizens, please visit our REAL ID Info for Non-U.S. Citizens page.

Costs and Expiration

Renewal is built into the REAL ID opt-in process for non-commercial drivers, but because renewal fees for commercial drivers are more expensive, CDL holders have two options when obtaining a REAL ID:

  1. When you opt into REAL ID, renew your CDL at the same time. You’ll pay a one-time fee of $30, plus the applicable renewal fee. Your first REAL ID CDL will include all the time remaining on your existing product, plus four additional years. For example, if your current CDL expires in March 2022 and you get your first REAL ID in March 2019, your first REAL ID CDL will expire in March 2026. Once your first REAL ID CDL expires, you’ll go back to a regular four-year renewal cycle and you won’t pay any additional fees (beyond normal renewal fees) to have a REAL ID CDL vs. a non-REAL ID CDL.
  2. When you opt into REAL ID, get a duplicate CDL. You’ll pay a one-time fee of $30, plus a duplicate fee (the current duplicate fee is $29.50). The expiration date of your first REAL ID CDL will be the same as the expiration date on your current product.