How does REAL ID affect you in 2019?


REAL – ID Act:  How will affect you as a Pennsylvania resident?

In the past few weeks you may have seen an advertisement on your television regarding REAL ID.  The advertisement talks about getting a REAL ID card but you may be more confused than educated regarding why you need to update your identification.  In 2019, Pennsylvania residents will be required to have an identification card compliant with the REAL ID Act. 

Picture: Pixabay


So why did the REAL ID Act come into place?  In an effort to have more consistency in compliance throughout the states, the Department of Homeland Security or DHS coordinated an effort by the states and Federal Government to decrease use the fraudulent identifications.  One of the recommendations that came from the 9/11 Commission was to encourage the federal government to set standards for issuance of sources of identification including the driver’s license.  The whole idea is that at TSA check points at the airport or when entering a federal building, the reliability, accuracy, and readability of the driver’s license would lead to less threats. 

But what is the difference between your current driver’s license and a REAL ID driver’s license?  A REAL ID driver’s license contains “machine-readable technology” that your current driver’s license does not contain.  All state’s driver’s license will have a star in a gold circle printed on it.  Each state will still issue a driver’s license that will have the state branding, but there will be more consistency in its readability. 

Will my children need a REAL ID identification to get through TSA at the airport?  Currently only people who are 18 years and older need to show identification at the airport checkpoint in order to travel domestically.  No matter what your child’s age is, if they are traveling internationally they will need a U.S. Passport Booklet to fly.

Picture: Pixabay


My 18-year-old does not have a driver’s license, what other forms of identification can they use to get through TSA?  There are many other forms of identification including a U.S. Passport Booklet or U.S. Passport Card they can use.  The complete list can be found at

When do I need to have the REAL ID Pennsylvania driver’s license by in order to get through TSA?  Recently Pennsylvania was granted another extension to allow all Pennsylvania residents to use their current driver’s license to get through TSA airport check point until August 1, 2019. (   All states have been issued a deadline of October 2020 to be completely compliant, but the extension right now is good until August 2019 but may change.  Again, you may use another acceptable form of identification even after October 2020. 

When can I get a driver’s license that is REAL ID compliant?  According the DMV PA website Pennsylvania residents can start to get their new REAL ID driver’s licenses starting in March 2019.  Currently you can fill out a pre-verification form and then in March of 2019 when it becomes available you apply for your REAL ID online.  It appears that you do not have to go to the driver’s license center to actually get it if you do this online.  You can get more information at

If you are traveling we always recommend contacting your travel agent to ask about requirements for both domestic and international driver. If you currently do not have a travel agent, feel free to check out complete list of travel agents with Life is Better Traveling.  We have many travel agents right here in Pittsburgh available to help,

Picture: Pixabay
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Mary Yohannan
Mary Yohannan lives in the Baldwin-Whitehall area of Pittsburgh. She moved to Pittsburgh over 2 years ago with her husband and 2 beautiful children. Mary owns her own travel agency Life is Better Traveling™, LLC which has helped hundreds of families take amazing vacations to Disney®, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Alaska, and all over Europe. She is also the founder of the Travel Agent School Supporting Learning and Education™ or T.A.S.S.L.E, which has the How to Become a SUCCESSFUL Travel Agent program™, a one-stop, all-inclusive program for someone who wants to become a Successful Travel Agent. Mary earned the distinguished honor of the Certified Travel Associate (CTA) through the Travel Institute in 2016, and has several other travel and tourism certifications. Mary has traveled to over 20 countries on 3 continents, but it wasn’t until she had children did she learn that traveling with little ones is a completely different, and sometimes challenging, traveling experience. Mary’s authentic passion for travel and traveling with her children has given her extensive knowledge on the best tips, tricks, and hacks to keep kids calm, entertained, and well-behaved while traveling. She posts a variety of travel tips and tricks on her highly coveted, High Content Life is Better Traveling website, but she has a lot of great advice on traveling with kids that she can’t wait to share with all those amazing Pittsburgh Moms.