Pa. travelers now have a year to get a federal REAL ID before it become a requirement for domestic air travel. The new documentation is being phased in as legacy verifications for boarding fade into history. Kiley Koscinski filed a first-class explanation on the issue for WHYY.
After several pandemic-related postponements, the ID deadline has now been set for May 3, 2023.
“Although a year seems like a long time to get ready, the deadline will be upon us before you know it,” said Melissa Batula, acting executive deputy secretary of PennDOT. “We encourage our customers who want a REAL ID to get one as soon as possible.”
Congress passed the Act that precipitated the change in 2005, establishing heightened nationwide security standards for identifications issued by states.
Now, 18 years later, the IDs will soon be required for Commonwealth residents who want to board an airplane, enter a military base, and visit any federal facility that requires identification.
PennDOT has already distributed around 1.6 million of the cards, which resemble a traditional driver’s license, since March 2019. The effort continues in its goal to eventually re-credential 8.6 million Pa. residents.
The ID, however, is not yet mandatory. Other forms of identification — U.S. passport, military ID, etc. — can still be used for official verification to fly and meet other authentication requirements.
Read more about the federal REAL ID requirement at WHYY.