Real ID’s slow start worries Pennsylvania officials |

Real ID’s slow start worries Pennsylvania officials

Nicole C. Brambila
Real ID issued by PennDOT

State transportation officials Friday expressed concern that Pennsylvanians are putting off getting the federally compliant identification card needed to board a plane next year.

Fewer than 15% of those expected to get a Real ID have sought one in the first three months since Pennsylvania began issuing cards in March, according to PennDOT data.

Officials expect 1.25 million Pennsylvanians before the Oct. 1, 2020 deadline.

“We understand that it may seem like October 2020 is in the distant future, but that date and the reality of Real ID enforcement gets closer every day,” Alexis Campbell, a PennDOT spokeswoman, told the Tribune-Review. “We are definitely concerned about people waiting too long to start the process, especially if they need to replace necessary documents, which takes time.”

In the three months since implementation, PennDOT has issued 165,134 cards.

Passed by Congress in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Real ID Act establishes federal security standards for state driver’s licenses and ID cards. A federally compliant card — a Real ID or a passport — will be required to fly domestically or enter a military base or federal building.

State implementation, though, has already had some hiccups.

In the year leading up to issuance, PennDOT had allowed cardholders who obtained a license after 2003 to pre-verify that the necessary documents — a birth certificate with a raised seal and Social Security card, or U.S. passport, and two proofs of address — are on file. The online pre-verification process earlier this year produced a backlog of more than 30,000 unprocessed PennDOT applications.

It’s a challenge making people aware, said state Sen. Kim Ward, R-Hempfield.

“Sure as I’m sitting here, there will people trying to get on a plane with a regular license,” she said.

Nancy L. Pepe of Bridgeville obtained her Real ID in April before her driver’s license expired.

Pope said she’s happy she did now, after hearing most Pennsylvanians are procrastinating.

Her advice? Do your homework and know what documents to bring.

“It was a little bit of a pain, but not that bad; people exaggerate,” she said. “You just have to be prepared.”

Nicole C. Brambila is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Nicole at 724-226-7704, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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