Starting May 3, 2023, U.S. travelers are encouraged to have a Real ID to board domestic flights and access certain federal facilities.

AJ Wallace of Scranton has his Real ID. He recently obtained it this past August.

“I’ve never gotten on a plane before I wanted to make sure if I wanted to fly across the country I could do that without having to [get] a passport or showing that at the airport,” Wallace told Eyewitness News.

Soon, you will need a Real ID driver’s license, photo ID card, or another approved form of ID such as a U.S. Passport to board a domestic flight or enter certain federal facilities. The purpose of the Real ID is to make our identity documents more consistent and secure, all in an effort to prevent terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fake IDs.

“We know fraudsters want to counterfeit products for the value and benefits they provide. These unlawful products can be used to conceal their identity, mask [their] place of residence, and perpetuate fraudulent acts for personal gain,” said Brett Lawson, the director of risk management for PennDOT.

There are several ways to obtain a Real ID. You can go to one of the 13 Real ID centers in Pennsylvania, head to any PA driver’s license center like this one in Dunmore, or go online.

“PennDOT needs to verify your documents. We need to see [an] original birth certificate, passport, social security card with full name, two proofs of current address, driver’s license, or vehicle’s registration insurance information,” explained Sarah Baker, the director of the Real ID program for PennDOT.

You will pay a one-time fee of $30 for the Real ID plus a renewal fee of $30.50 for a four-year driver’s license.

“The cost was surprising I had to pay $60 I wasn’t expecting that but it doesn’t t expire for 7 years so I think it’s worth it,” Wallace said.

Real IDs are marked with a star at the top of the card. Beginning May 3, 2023, every air traveler in Pennsylvania over 18 will need a Real ID compliant driver’s license or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the U.S.

TSA does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling within the U.S.

The Real ID is optional. If you choose another form of ID to fly, visit the TSA’s website to find out what other forms of ID you can use instead of a Real ID.