Federal enforcement of REAL ID for commercial domestic air travel and other purposes will start one year from today, and Pennsylvania officials are advising residents to make a plan and get their necessary documents ready as soon as possible.

REAL ID is a federal law affecting how states issue driver’s licenses and ID cards if they are going to be acceptable for federal purposes, such as boarding a domestic flight or entering a federal building.

Keith Brune, chief operating officer of Philadelphia International Airport, said it’s important to think ahead now for future travel plans in 2023, when you’ll be required to have either a passport or REAL ID to fly.

“We would encourage you to start the process for REAL ID sooner rather than later to beat that last-minute rush, which we’re sure is going to happen,” Brune urged. “It’s been a really long time since a lot of people have traveled, and we don’t want anybody showing up and end up being turned away.”

To date, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has issued approximately 1.6 million REAL ID products. Residents can order their REAL ID online if they have been pre-verified. Residents need to show their birth certificate or U.S. passport, proof of Social Security number, two proofs of current Pennsylvania address, and proof of all legal name changes.

It is not required for Pennsylvania residents to obtain a REAL ID and PennDOT continues to offer
standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs.

Jana Tidwell, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Pennsylvania and Delaware, said as you’re making summer 2022 travel plans, make REAL ID considerations a part of it.

“As your driver’s license comes up for renewal, make that decision as to whether or not you enjoy the convenience of domestic air travel using your driver’s license as that form of identification,” Tidwell advised. “We don’t want to see anybody’s trip ruined.”

Other options for obtaining a REAL ID include visiting any PennDOT center open for driver’s license services, or visiting one of the 13 REAL ID Centers in the state.