Warning! Is your PA Driver’s License good to get through TSA?

I probably get one person a week ask me if they will be able to get through TSA with their current Pennsylvania driver’s license after January 2018.  For a few months I had to say no, and they would be required to either bring their passport booklet or passport card with them to get through TSA. (Click here to read my article on the Booklet vs Card)  If you don’t have a passport booklet or passport card, and you don’t plan to fly out of the United States, then purchasing one of these seems like a lot of wasted money.  So, what is the big deal with our PA driver’s licenses and why can’t we use them to do board domestic flights?



Per Wikipedia, the REAL ID Act of 2005, enacted May 11, 2005, is an Act of Congress that modifies U.S. federal law pertaining to security, authentication, and issuance procedures standards for the state driver’s licenses and identity documents, as well as various immigration issues pertaining to terrorism.  Part of this Act is to establishes new federal standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and non-driver identification cards.  With these new standards, comes better security measures.  So why is Pennsylvania not up to code with their driver’s licenses especially if this act went into effect in 2005?


Until May 2017, Pennsylvania law prohibited PennDOT from complying with the federal REAL ID Act. Act 3 of 2017 repealed this prior legislation and allowed PennDOT to seek REAL ID compliance, hence the extension.  Pennsylvania is now looking into ways to be compliant with the REAL ID act, and it appears that compliant documents will be available to Pennsylvania residents by Spring 2019.  So, what happens after January 2018 and until Spring 2019?


A few weeks ago, Pennsylvania and 19 other states were granted another extension.  Now Pennsylvania residents can continue to use their current issued Pennsylvania driver’s license to board domestic, commercial flights until October 10, 2018.  What happens after October 10, 2018?  If Pennsylvania is not granted another extension, then to board a domestic, commercial flight you will need another form of identification such as your passport booklet or passport card to get through TSA. 


Please Note:  This article is only pertaining to domestic flights.  If you plan to fly internationally, you will need a passport booklet to be able to through TSA and board your plane.  Passport cards are not an acceptable form of identification for any international flights including Mexico, Caribbean, and Canada. 


CLICK HERE for some Q & A for PA residents


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