PennDOT Once Again Issuing REAL IDs

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced that it has resumed issuing REAL IDs at reopened Driver License Centers offering driver license services throughout the state.

PennDOT paused REAL ID issuance throughout the state in March 2020 out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of public health, due to COVID-19. Additionally, the federal Department of Homeland Security postponed the enforcement date for REAL ID from October 1, 2020 to October 1, 2021 in response to COVID-19 and the national emergency declaration.

REAL ID is optional in Pennsylvania.

There is no requirement that any resident obtain a REAL ID; PennDOT continues to offer standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs.

REAL ID is a federal law that affects how states issue driver’s licenses and ID cards if they are going to be acceptable for federal purposes. A federally-acceptable form of identification (whether it’s a Pennsylvania REAL ID driver’s license or ID card, a valid U.S. Passport/Passport Card, a military ID, etc.) must now be used on and after October 1, 2021 as identification to board a commercial flight or visit a secure federal building that requires a federally acceptable form of identification ID for access. 

Customers can obtain a REAL ID by presenting documents for verification and processing at any driver license center. Federal regulations require that to be issued a REAL ID-compliant product, PennDOT must verify the below documents:

*Proof of Identity: Examples include original or certified copy of a birth certificate filed with the State Office of Vital Records/Statistics with a raised seal/embossed or valid, unexpired, U.S. Passport;

*Proof of Social Security Number:  Social security card, in current legal name;

*Two Proofs of Current, Physical PA Address: Examples include a current, unexpired PA driver’s license or identification card, vehicle registration or a utility bill with the same name and address; and  

*Proof of all Legal Name Changes (if current legal name is different than what is reflected on proof of identity document): Examples include a certified marriage certificate(s) issued by the County Court for each marriage, court order(s) approving a change in legal name or amended birth certificate issued by the State Office of Vital Records/Statistics. If current name is the same as what is reflected on proof of identity document (usually birth certificate or passport), a customer does not need to show proof of legal name changes.

Customers have three options for obtaining a REAL ID product: Customers may order their REAL ID online if they have been pre-verified and their REAL ID product will be mailed to them within 15 business days; they can visit any PennDOT Driver’s License Center that is open for driver license services, have their documents verified and imaged, and their REAL ID product will be mailed to them within 15 business days; or they can visit one of 12 REAL ID Centers and receive their REAL ID product over the counter at the time of service.

For a full list of opened driver license centers and their services, please visit the PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services website.

When a customer gets their first REAL ID product, they 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 and $31.50 for a photo ID). The expiration date of their initial REAL ID product will include any time remaining on their existing non-REAL ID product, plus an additional four years, unless the customer is over 65 and has a two-year license. This expiration date structure means that the customer won’t “lose” time that they’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.

Since March 1,2019, PennDOT has processed about 4 million customers, with more than 912,000 individuals choosing to opt in to the REAL ID program.

More info about document requirements for REAL ID, including a printable document checklist, can be found on the Document Check page of the PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services website.

Driver and vehicle online services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and include driver’s license, photo ID and vehicle registration renewals; driver-history services; changes of address; driver license and vehicle registration restoration letters; ability to pay driver license or vehicle insurance restoration fee; driver license and photo ID duplicates; and driver exam scheduling. There are no additional fees for using online services.

PennDOT Extends Expiration Dates Due to Pandemic

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has announced that expiration dates for commercial driver licenses and commercial learner’s permits will be extended for Pennsylvania residents in response to statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

Effective immediately, the following products’ expiration dates will be extended:

• The expiration date for a commercial learner’s permit scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020, through November 29, 2020, is extended through Nov. 29.

• The expiration date for commercial driver licenses scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020, through November 29, 2020, is extended through Nov. 29.

• The expiration date of a Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) for an individual who is a Pennsylvania-licensed commercial driver’s license holder and who held a valid, unexpired HME with a determination of no security threat on or after March 6, 2020, is extended until Oct. 29, 2020.

Expiration extension deadlines on non-commercial driver license, photo identification cards, learner’s permits and camera cards expired on Aug. 31.

For a list of open driver license and photo license centers and the services provided, as well as their hours of operation, please visitwww.dmv.pa.gov.  

Customers may continue to complete various transactions and access multiple resources online at www.dmv.pa.gov. Driver and vehicle online services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and include driver’s license, photo ID and vehicle registration renewals; driver-history services; changes of address; driver license and vehicle registration restoration letters; ability to pay driver license or vehicle insurance restoration fee; driver license and photo ID duplicates; and schedule a driver’s exam. There are no additional fees for using online services.

PennDOT will continue to evaluate these processes and will communicate any changes with the public.

Additional COVID-19 information is available at www.health.pa.gov. For more information, visit www.dmv.pa.gov or www.PennDOT.gov.

PennDOT Invites Students to Participate in Innovations Challenge

pennDOT-logoThe Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today that students in grades 9-12 are invited to participate in the fourth annual PennDOT Innovations Challenge, which encourages students to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to solve real-world transportation challenges in a competition among their peers.

“One of the goals of the Innovations Challenge is to open students’ minds to the possibility of a career in transportation, maybe even with PennDOT,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “Students working on this project will engage in the very real challenge facing the industry – finding a sustainable solution to transportation funding challenges.”

This year’s Innovations Challenge asks students to develop an innovative and implementable solution that helps address Pennsylvania’s transportation revenue shortfall by identifying potential new funding streams, aside from additional gas taxes, tolls or mileage-based user fees, to help ensure adequate transportation funding for the future.

The Innovations Challenge is open to all students in grades 9-12, regardless of their school’s learning model. PennDOT is directly responsible for nearly 40,000 miles of highway and roughly 25,000 bridges, roughly equal to the state-maintained road systems of New York, New Jersey, and all the New England states combined. Much of the funding to maintain that system comes from liquid fuels taxes, which are becoming increasingly unsustainable, especially considering additional impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With vehicles becoming more fuel efficient and electric vehicles becoming more affordable, gasoline-based revenues can no longer generate the funds needed. Other options, including tolling and mileage-based user fees, are being explored. To meet the needs of its aging infrastructure, Pennsylvania needs to establish a funding stream that will inject an additional $5 billion per year into its transportation system.

Regional Innovations Challenge winners will be selected and invited to compete for the state championship.

The Transportation Policy and Education Foundation, an educational arm of the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC), the American Council of Engineering Companies of PA (ACEC/PA) and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) are providing a combined total award of $5,500 to be divided among the first, second and third place statewide winning teams.

For complete Innovations Challenge details, visit www.penndot.gov/innovation. The submission deadline is Dec. 18, 2020.