Updating drivers license designs

new license extensions

PennDOT is updating the design and enhancing the security features of its driver license and identification card products and urges residents who are renewing their products to decide if they will need a REAL ID before the federal enforcement deadline of May 3, 2023.

“PennDOT remains vigilant in taking proactive measures to mitigate fraud, such as identity theft, by updating our security features regularly,” PennDOT Deputy Secretary Kurt Myers said.

PennDOT began piloting the new products at the Summerdale Driver License Center in Enola on September 12, 2022. Since then, another 15 locations have started issuing the new products. All driver license and photo centers statewide will transition to the new products by mid-November 2022. 

The new products will be phased in during renewal cycles and will replace existing products. Both current and new card designs will be in circulation during the transition period.

The cards look different and have additional enhanced security features that improve fraud prevention and protect from counterfeiting. Both standard and REAL ID compliant products will use the new design and security features.

“All of these measures are important enhancements to fight against fraudulent driver license or identification cards being produced or used. Fraudulently obtaining and using a counterfeit product can have an adverse impact on highway safety and national security, so the need to deter and detect fraud is of paramount importance,” PennDOT’s Risk Management Director Brent Lawson said. “These new security features make it more difficult to produce a fraudulent product.” 


Additionally, beginning May 3, 2023, Pennsylvanians will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, photo ID card, or another form of federally acceptable identification (such as a valid passport or military ID) to board a domestic commercial flight or enter a federal building or military installation that requires ID. To date, PennDOT has issued approximately 1.8 million REAL ID products.

“We encourage our customers who want a REAL ID to get one as soon as possible,” PennDOT REAL ID Director Sarah Baker said. “Making the conscious decision about your REAL ID needs now will help ensure you are well prepared prior to the May 3, 2023 federal enforcement deadline.”

All Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to use the upcoming months to gather the needed documents now to ensure they leave plenty of time to get their REAL ID before the federal enforcement date, especially if their driver license or ID card is up for renewal. There is no requirement that any resident obtain a REAL ID; PennDOT continues to offer standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs

More information about REAL ID can be found on the REAL ID page on the Driver and Vehicle Services website.

As PennDOT continues to modernize processes, PennDOT is exploring the concept of a mobile driver’s license (mDL) – a secure, digital identification stored on a mobile device such as a smartphone.

“The mDL would offer a significant additional benefit to physical credentials which can be lost or stolen, become broken or damaged, contain outdated information, offer too much information (including personally identifiable information) when it is not needed by the requester, and can potentially be replicated by counterfeiters,” Baker said. “While we are in the early stages in Pennsylvania, we are excited for the future of an mDL for driver licensing and proof of identity as an option to serve the future needs of our residents.”

Customers may obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services online, including all forms, publications and driver training manuals, through the Driver and Vehicle Services website.   

Driver and vehicle online services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and include driver’s license, photo ID and vehicle registration renewals; driver-history services; changes of address; driver license and vehicle registration restoration letters; ability to pay driver license or vehicle insurance restoration fee; driver license and photo ID duplicates; and driver exam scheduling. There are no additional fees for using online services.

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