Something that was pushed off in recent times due to Covid-19 was the need for a Real ID. What was supposed to go into effect the beginning of this month is now being pushed back a year. However, as much as it has been talked about, is it something that is going to become a necessity? Let’s find out. 

What is Real ID? 

In short, Real ID is a form of identification that soon will have more freedom than a standard driver’s license. But it is something that isn’t going to be necessary.

But what exactly does that mean? Well, starting October 1st, 2021, you will need a Real ID or another form of federally-accepted identification, such as a passport or military ID, in order to board commercial flights, enter a military base, or enter a federal building that requires ID at the door. 

Is Real ID a necessity? 

No, not at all. You do not need a Real ID. If you already have a passport or a military identification card, a Real ID wouldn’t be necessary at all. However, if you do not have either of those options and need to board a commercial flight, then a Real ID becomes a necessity. 

A driver’s license is all you will need to operate a car, and if you aren’t going anywhere in terms of flying, then having a Real ID isn’t needed. However, if you do plan on flying, then you will need a Real ID, which makes it a necessity in only select situations. 

How do I get a Real ID? 

Getting a Real ID is very easy and the steps are laid out perfectly on PennDOT’s website for you do apply. However, you can find what you need below. First, gather what you need. The proper documents include: 

  • Proof of Identity: Original or certified copy of your birth certificate

  • Proof of Social Security: Your social security card

  • Two proofs of current, physical PA residence: Current, unexpired driver’s license, PA vehicle registration, auto insurance card, or utility bill with same name and address

  • Proof of all legal name changes: Certified marriage certificate, court order, or divorce decree issues by your county’s family court

Next you would follow the rest of the steps, which would be to apply for pre-verification. Once that is approved, you can apply for the Real ID, which will then be sent to you in 15 business days. 

In conclusion, a Real ID is in layman’s terms just a commercial passport. It is something that is nice to have, but if you already have a passport or a military ID, it’s redundant. However, if you have a driver’s license and aren’t planning on flying anywhere, a Real ID isn’t needed. But if you don’t have a passport and want to fly within the USA, a Real ID is the best thing you can do for yourself. 

 
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