By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The next time you fly out of Pittsburgh International Airport and the TSA officers scrutinize your driver’s license, expect them to say something a little different.

“If they are presenting a driver’s license and it does not have that star up in the corner, they are letting people know that they need to get their Real ID by October, 2020,” says Lisa Farbstein, TSA spokesperson.

That’s right.

TSA agents will now remind travelers without a Real ID that it’s time to get one through their motor vehicle departments, Farbstein told KDKA money editor Jon Delano via FaceTime.

“Congress passed this act for the Real ID in 2005, so states have had all this time to come into compliance.”

“There have been numerous extensions. So all this came about as a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission which, of course, came out of the terrorist attacks of 9/11.”

Pennsylvania was slow to implement Real ID, but now anyone can apply for a Real ID by going to any PennDOT driver license center, says PennDOT’s Alexis Campbell.

To get a Real ID, you need some very specific documents: “So we need to see one of those two documents — birth certificate or passport,” says Campbell.

“We need to see a social security card and two proofs of your residency in Pennsylvania. So that could be your current driver’s license, your vehicle registration, a utility bill, something that shows your name and address.”


TSA is warning passengers nationwide that you should not wait to get your Real ID, even though it’s more than year before it’s required.

“Don’t wait until the last minute. The best tip I can offer is get that Real ID sooner rather than later,” Farbstein says.

Come October of 2020, without that Real ID or an approved substitute, you cannot talk your way through TSA.

“You’re in a bad place. That could be a very expensive mistake to make. Don’t be that guy,” warns Farbstein.

Now instead of a Real ID, you can use a U.S. passport or military ID.

In Pennsylvania, we have 10.1 million licensed drivers in this state, but only 300,000 have gotten their Real IDs so far.

A crunch is coming.

Some drivers may be eligible for the on-line application, which you can find here.

As for the rest of us, you need to apply in person and get mailed the new ID.

Or if you want one right away, take your documents to the Bridgeville DMV, and you can walk out with a Real ID.

It took about 40 minutes.