Pennsylvanians not getting Real IDs as fast as officials would like |

Pennsylvanians not getting Real IDs as fast as officials would like

Nicole C. Brambila
Pennsylvanians will need a RealID to enter federal courthouses, board domestic flights or enter any military base starting in 2020.
Nicole C. Brambila |Tribune-Review
More than 30 people lined up outside the driver’s license center in Bridgeville on Friday, June 29. The Bridgeville location has issued the most federally compliant cards in the first three months of Real ID in Pennsylvania of any DMV site in the state.
Real ID issued by PennDOT

The Bridgeville Driver’s License Center in Allegheny County issued more federally enhanced driver’s licenses than any other DMV in Pennsylvania, state data show.

As of June 5, the Bridgeville site on Washington Pike had issued 7,645 Real IDs to cardholders, according to PennDOT data. The Summerdale DMV in Enola, Cumberland County, had the second most issued, followed by the King of Prussia site in Montgomery County.

“We definitely thought around the urban centers would be kind of the hot spots,” said Alexis Campbell, a PennDOT spokeswoman.

“Maybe people in Pittsburgh are just really on top of it,” Campbell added.

To date, Pennsylvania has issued fewer than 200,000 Real IDs.

Driver’s license sites in Westmoreland County have issued Real IDs to nearly 4,770 people: 3,181 at the Greensburg DMV and 1,587 at the New Kensington site.

With 1.25 million cardholders expected to opt for a Real ID before the deadline, transportation officials last month expressed concern that Pennsylvanians were putting off getting the federally compliant card.

Passed by Congress after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Real ID Act establishes federal security standards for state driver’s licenses and ID cards called a “Real ID.”

Because Real ID is a process, not a specific identification, there a various Real IDs, such as a U.S. passport book or card, permanent resident card and federally recognized tribal-issued photo ID.

Two years ago, state lawmakers created a two-tiered system that allows Pennsylvanians to choose whether to get a Real ID.

Starting Oct. 1, 2020, a Real ID will be required to fly domestically or enter a military base or federal building.

“We’ve been trying to get out in front of this as much as we can,” Campbell said. “We’re definitely very cognizant of the 2020 deadline. We want to make sure that people are taking care of this sooner rather than later so that next summer everyone’s not freaking out.”

Obtaining a federally enhanced card requires specific documents — a birth certificate with a raised seal, a Social Security card or U.S. passport and two proofs of address — that has confounded some Real ID seekers.

Craig Kern, 65, of Murrysville started the process in April and still doesn’t have a Real ID. It wasn’t until he was at the counter that he realized there’s a difference between a commemorative birth certificate with his footprints and a state-issued one.

And there was also an issue with his marriage license, signed by a priest, but not issued by the county.

“This isn’t the easiest thing in the world,” Kern said. “I don’t think that other government bodies were ready for it.”

Allegheny County officials have reported a significant increase in requests for copies of marriage licenses.

Max Homer, deputy director of Allegheny County court records, said the county had a backlog of 3,000 requests for copies of marriage licenses following the passage of Real ID. The department has since added employees to help with the increased volume, Homer said.

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