PennDOT lists needed papers for REAL ID driver licenses

State residents interested in getting a driver license that is REAL ID compliant may find extra hoops to jump through when the service becomes available next year, particularly if their license was issued before September 2003.

That’s 35 percent of the population, according to the state Department of Transportation, which recently warned of the extra documentation that will be needed and suggested the time to begin gathering the documents is now.

Those documents include proof of identity, either in the form of a passport or birth certificate; Social Security card; proof of all legal name changes, either marriage licenses or court orders; and two proofs of address, such as an unexpired driver license, bank statement or utility bill.

Obtaining those documents may save months of waiting for documents when PennDOT begins offering REAL ID-compliant licenses in the spring of 2019, according to the department.

Anyone needing to fly domestically after Oct. 1, 2020, will need a REAL ID-compliant license or a passport.

For those who received their first driver license after September 2003, PennDOT already may have the documents needed for REAL ID on file. As of this March, the department will provide confirmation to anyone who visits their website or calls a PennDOT call center requesting to confirm if their documents are on file. Pennsylvanians who want a REAL ID license will then just need to opt into the program when it becomes available in spring of 2019.

REAL ID will cost a one-time fee of $30 and will need to be renewed for $30.50 every four years.

Some local lawmakers, however, suggest that collecting those documents and purchasing a passport may still be the better option for many.

“The purpose of the REAL ID is to travel with it in the 48 contiguous states via plane,” said state Rep. Jeff Wheeland, R-Loyalsock Township. “Other than that, you can’t even get on a cruise ship without a passport.”

Residents will be able to visit any PennDOT driver license center or one of ten REAL ID Centers to purchase the identification.

When REAL ID is available to consumers, all PennDOT drivers license centers will sell the new identification, according to Alexis Campbell, community relations coordinator for PennDOT.

After being ordered, the license will take seven to 10 business days to arrive by mail.

For those who need the identification immediately, PennDOT is planning on building five new locations specialized for REAL ID customers and is outfitting another five license centers with the ability to give REAL ID in the same day. One of those centers will be the Williamsport center at 1782 E. Third St..

“The Williamsport area is going to be one of the retrofit sites,” Campbell said. “The hours will be expanded and then it will give REAL IDs over the counter.”