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Identity & Community

Many Unknowns Persist For REAL ID

Gov. Tom Wolf signs the REAL ID bill into law on May 26, 2017.

After years of back and forth, Pennsylvania has passed a law to bring its state IDs up to federal standards.

But compliance doesn’t end there.

It’ll still be a multi-year process to phase in the new IDs, and a lot of the timelines and costs are unknown.

The state says it tentatively plans to make the new federal “Real ID” compliant cards available around March 2019.

PennDOT coordinator Alexis Campbell said the Pennsylvania’s IDs are largely in compliance with federal standards already. But it’ll have to update its IT systems—in particular, the way the state collects identification data will probably change.

The physical IDs will see some minor changes too. But it’s unclear how much any of that will cost.

Campbell said PennDOT will know more once it hears back from the Department of Homeland Security.

“We’re still sort of in a bit of a limbo until we’re able to have those discussions, as far as getting too specific as far as what our implementation plan is,” she said.

Under current agreements, federal and nuclear facilities will stop accepting Pennsylvania IDs on June 7. The TSA will stop accepting them in January 2018.

Campbell said the state has applied for additional extensions to get the ID changes in place, and expects they’ll be granted.

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