Starting January, you may have a little trouble getting into a federal building – and you may eventually face some added headaches at airport security.
That’s because effective Jan. 30, 2017, Pennsylvania-issued driver’s licenses and IDs will be out of compliance with new federal requirements.
The federal Department of Homeland Security has notified Pennsylvania that state residents will face new restrictions when they attempt to enter federal facilities in January as a result of the failure of those state-issued documents to meet federal so-called REAL ID requirements.
Effective Jan. 30, Pennsylvania residents will need an alternative, secure form of identification to gain admittance to all federal facilities, military bases and nuclear power plants. The only exception is admittance to federal facilities for the purpose of applying for or receiving federal benefits. Each federal agency determines which secure identification it will accept.
Pennsylvania is prohibited from developing new identification by the state’s 2012 Act 38, which restricts the commonwealth from participation in the Real ID Act. Pennsylvania is one of about two dozen states that haven’t complied with the federal guideline.
The Real ID Act, passed in 2013, is intended to improve accuracy of state-issued identification documents to help inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.
The law has been phased in over three years. The last phase, which applies to boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft, is supposed to be enforced “no sooner than 2016,” according to the Department of Homeland Security’s web site.
The Department of Homeland Security had been granting states not in compliance a series of extensions. In a letter dated Oct. 11, the department informed PennDOT that no further extensions will be granted unless there are new developments or information provided on why standards remain unmet and the reasons for continued noncompliance.
DHS also pointed out that if Pennsylvania does not come into compliance by Jan. 22, 2018 (or is not granted an extension), Pennsylvania residents will need to present an alternative form of identification acceptable to the Transportation Security Administration to board a commercial flight.