Pennsylvanians may soon have to buy new, specialized drivers licenses in order to board a plane, thanks to an 11-year old federal law.
The REAL ID Act of 2005, passed by Congress and signed into law at the recommendation of the Department of Homeland Security after the 9/11 Commission, requires states to have more accurate documentation of their citizens, making it more difficult for terrorists to acquire false identification cards.
How will this impact you? According to the Act, which was implemented in 2013, the Transportation Security Administration is only allowing those with REAL ID-compatible identification cards to board planes. Pennsylvania is one of 29 states which is currently not fully compliant with REAL ID standards.
“At this time, there is no impact, and there wont be for another two years,” says Scott Miller, spokesperson for the Harrisburg International Airport.
Why is there no impact for Pennsylvanians? Recently, PennDOT filed for an extension with the Dept. of Homeland Security, which was granted. By Oct. 1, 2016, Pennsylvania must be compliant, or they can apply for another extension. However, by January 1, 2018, Pennsylvania must begin to implement REAL IDs and by Oct. 1, 2020, all states must either have REAL ID in place in order to fly, or use another form of acceptable identification, such as a U.S. Passport, which costs $125.