REAL ID FAQS and Pre-Verification

Mar 26, 2018 | Member News

Beginning March 1, 2018, PennDOT customers who received their first learner’s permit, driver’s license, or photo ID after September 2003 will be sent a postcard inviting them to apply for REAL ID pre-verification on PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services Website,

Dealerships may guide customers through the pre-verification process using the eGov website and submit a pre-verification request on a customer’s behalf. When a pre-verification request is submitted on the customer’s behalf, PennDOT staff will review the customer’s record and determine whether the required REAL ID documentation is already on file with the department.

Additionally, if the customer would prefer to apply for pre-verification using a paper form, they may use form DL-60RID, available for download at Below are frequently asked questions regarding REAL ID and pre-verification:

What is REAL ID? The REAL ID Act 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, such as boarding a domestic commercial flight or entering a military installation or federal facility.

When will PA be REAL ID compliant? Beginning October 1, 2020, Pennsylvanians will need a REAL ID compliant license, identification card or another form of federally acceptable identification.

Will Pennsylvanians be required to get a REAL ID? No. A REAL ID is optional for Pennsylvania residents.

If a person does not have a REAL ID, an alternative form of federally-acceptable identification will be needed to board domestic flights and enter certain federal facilities after October 1, 2020. A REAL ID is not needed to drive, vote, access hospitals, visit the post office, access federal courts, or apply for federal benefits.

When can a customer get a REAL ID? REAL IDs will be available in spring 2019.

How much will a REAL ID cost and when will it expire? The cost is 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 first REAL ID will include any time remaining on the current license plus an additional four years. After the first REAL ID expires, there are no additional fees to renew a REAL ID versus a standard issue ID.

How can someone get a REAL ID? Beginning in September 2018, an individual may bring the necessary REAL ID documentation to any PennDOT Driver License Center for verification. Once REAL IDs are available in the spring 2019, the individual will be able to order their REAL ID online with no need to go back to the driver license center. Once the REAL ID is ordered online, PennDOT will use the most recent photo on file and the new REAL ID will arrive in the mail within 7-10 business days. After REAL IDs are available, individuals will be able to:

  1. Apply online (pre-verified customers);
  2. Visit any PennDOT License Center to have documents verified and imaged, receiving the REAL ID in the mail 7-10 days later; or
  3. Visit one of the REAL ID centers located statewide to have documents verified and imaged, and receive the REAL ID at the time of service.

In September 2003, PennDOT began imaging copies of customers’ identifying documents as part of its initial driver’s license or photo ID issuance process, and scanned versions of those documents were included in those customers’ driving records. PennDOT is sending postcards to these individuals informing them that they may apply for REAL ID pre-verfication on PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services Website.

I know that I got my first license or ID card after September 2003, but I haven’t received a postcard yet. Can I apply for pre-verification? Yes, if you received your first license or ID after September 2003, you are eligible to apply for REAL ID pre-verification. You do not need to wait for a postcard.

I’m not sure when I got my first license. How will I know if I’m eligible to apply for online pre-verification? PennDOT is sending postcards to its customers who established their record with the department. If you receive a postcard in the mail inviting you to apply for online pre-verification, you are eligible to apply. The system is designed to only allow customers who established their record after September 2003 to complete the online pre-verification process.

I don’t have access to the internet. Can I still apply for REAL ID pre-verification? Yes. You can also call PennDOT’s Customer Call Center at 717-412-5300 for assistance.

I have applied for pre-verification. Now what? Once you have completed the online pre-verification process, PennDOT staff will review your record to ensure the required documents are on file. If you provide an email address, you will receive an email confirming receipt. If you don’t provide an email address, you will receive a postcard stating your documentation is on file. Once REAL IDs are available in spring 2019, you will be able to order your REAL ID online.

Required documentation includes:

  • Proof of Identity – birth certificate or valid US Passport
  • Proof of Social Security Number – Social Security Card
  • Proof of all Legal Name Changes – Marriage certificates or court orders
  • Two Proofs of Current Physical PA Address – current PA license or ID, no more than 90 day-old bank statement or utility bill.

Courtesy of PAA Bulletin No. 6, 3/26/2018