SRU community urged to get REAL ID
Americans will no longer be able to board a domestic commercial flight or enter a federal building without a REAL ID-compliant form of identification after Oct. 1. REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses and photo ID cards are marked with a gold star in the upper right corner.
Feb. 6, 2020
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Chances are your calendar is filled with a variety of important dates including birthdays, doctor's appointments and various deadlines. One more to add, if you haven't already, is Oct. 1. That's the date Americans will need a REAL ID-complaint driver's license, photo identification card or another form of federally acceptable identification to board a domestic commercial flight or enter a federal building or military installation.
Passed by Congress in 2005 following a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission, the REAL ID Act established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver's licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act's minimum standards.
While REAL IDs are optional, people must have an alternate form of federally acceptable identification, such as a passport, to board domestic commercial flights or enter certain federal facilities after the Oct. 1 deadline. Traditional driver's licenses will still be accepted in Pennsylvania for driving, voting and other validating procedures not mentioned above.
"Transitioning to a REAL ID is a vital step in supporting the security of the U.S.," said Jordan Titera, SRU instructor of homeland and corporate security studies. "It allows the Department of Homeland Security to better maintain security within critical facilities, such as airports or federal facilities. Having a unified set of standards for a source of identification enables federal agencies to form comprehensive standards throughout the country."
Since REAL IDs were made available to Pennsylvanians in March 2019, more than 612,000 motorists have obtained a REAL ID driver's license. However, more than 2 million motorists who renewed their licenses since March 2019 have opted not to get the REAL ID.
Across all states, the DHS reports that 95 million REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses and ID cards have been issued, accounting for just 34% of the 276 million total cards.
Motorists can wait until they renew their driver's license to make a decision or simply use a valid passport after Oct. 1 to board a domestic commercial flight or enter the designated federal buildings. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has a REAL ID online wizard to help residents determine if a REAL ID is right for them.
If a person decides to obtain a REAL ID, they must prove their identity with an original or certified copy of their birth certificate or a valid U.S. Passport; a Social Security card; two proofs of a current, physical address (if applicable), such as an unexpired driver's license, vehicle registration or utility bill; and proof of all legal names changes, such as a marriage certificate. These documents may not be necessary for some Pennsylvanians because PennDOT may already have their REAL ID on file if they received their driver's license after Sept. 1, 2003. To find out, apply for REAL ID pre-verification online.
To apply for a REAL ID in Pennsylvania, residents can apply online and receive a REAL ID in the mail within 15 business days. They can also take the required identification documents to a PennDOT REAL ID center and receive their REAL ID at the time of service, or take them to a Driver's License Center and receive their REAL ID within 15 business days.
For more information about REAL ID in Pennsylvania, click here.
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