A Pennsylvania ID card can provide a convenient form of identification for state residents who do not have a driver’s license. A DMV ID card can be easily obtained at a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Driver License Center by most state residents, including certain minors. A photo ID comes in handy whenever you are required to provide proof of your identity but lack a valid driver’s license.

Although a state ID card serves the same identification purposes as a driver’s license, it does not provide any type of driving privilege. However, this comes with the benefit of not needing to take any driver’s license tests. Keep in mind that if you already have a PA driver’s license, you cannot apply for a PA ID card. State residents may hold one or the other. Review the following sections to learn how to get a photo identification card in Pennsylvania and how much you will pay PennDOT in ID card fees.

Pennsylvania DMV ID Requirements

PennDOT has basic DMV state ID requirements that applicants must follow to receive a photo ID card. An identification card in Pennsylvania is easily attainable by any state resident age 10 or older. Applicants must surrender their state driver’s license before getting an ID card, because it is not possible to have both documents at once.

Non-United States citizens may not apply for a PA state ID card unless they have a minimum of one year of legal presence in the country. PennDOT verifies immigration document dates electronically with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This may take up to six weeks to complete.

Getting a state ID for minors requires a parent or guardian to be present at the time of application. Minors younger than 18 years of age are required to apply for a photo ID card in person at a PennDOT Driver License Center.

What do you need to get an ID in Pennsylvania?

If you are wondering, “What do you need to get a state ID in Pennsylvania?” the requirements vary according to the applicant’s age and other factors. The documents needed for state ID help to prove your identity, Pennsylvania residency and your legal presence in the United States.

PennDOT provides a comprehensive list of acceptable documents in each category. These lists are available in several languages, including English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Hindi, Khmer, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese.

PA Residents Younger Than 18

  • One identity document
  • Social Security card

PA Residents 18 or Older

  • One identity document
  • Social Security card
  • Two proof of state residency documents

New Residents Younger Than 18

  • One identity document
  • Social Security card
  • Out-of-state driver’s license or ID card

New Residents 18 or Older

  • One identity document
  • Social Security card
  • Two proof of state residency documents
  • Out-of-state driver’s license or ID card

Examples of acceptable identity documents for U.S. citizens include a birth certificate with raised seal, a valid U.S. passport, a Certificate of U.S. Citizenship or a Certificate of Naturalization.

Proof of residency for a state ID can be satisfied with tax records, a current weapons permit, and mortgage or lease documents. You may also show current utility bills clearly printed with your home address. Minors and others who live with someone else and do not have bills in their name can bring the person they live with to the Driver License Center. A secondary residency document is required, such as a magazine imprinted with the applicant’s name and matching address.

Documents required for state ID applicants who are not U.S. citizens vary according to immigration status. Please consult the Fact Sheet: Identification and Legal Presence Requirements for Non-United States Citizens document linked in the forms section below.

Mailed applications and most PennDOT Driver License Center locations require DMV ID card fee payments by check or money order made payable to PennDOT. The Riverfront Office Center in Harrisburg can also accept cash payments. Credit card payments are limited to online transactions.

How to Get an ID in Pennsylvania

Residents wondering where to get state ID in Pennsylvania may apply by mail or in person at a PennDOT Driver License Center. When applying by mail, submit your packet to the address printed on the application. Although you cannot get an ID online with an initial card application, you can use the PennDOT portal for renewals and replacements. Follow these steps for your new ID application:

  1. Complete and sign Form DL-54A, Application for Initial Photo Identification Card.
  2. Submit the form and supporting documentation described above.
  3. Pay the DMV ID card
  4. Have your photo taken. If you already have a photo on file at PennDOT, your new ID card may be issued without having a new photo taken.
  5. Receive your new photo state ID

REAL ID Cards in Pennsylvania

In March 2019, the REAL ID program begins in PA. Getting a REAL ID card is optional in Pennsylvania, but having this type of identification can be helpful. Because it complies with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005, this type of ID provides a higher level of security. Additionally, you must have a REAL ID card (or another acceptable form of ID) to enter certain federal facilities or board domestic flights after October 1, 2020.

If you want to apply for REAL ID in PA, the process is the same as applying for the state’s standard photo ID. The documents required for REAL ID applications are mostly the same in that you must prove your identity and legal presence in the country. However, you must show a complete name change history that connects your birth certificate name to your current name. You can do this with a marriage certificate, divorce documents or other legal name change documents. A valid U.S. passport can substitute for this requirement.

How to Renew or Replace a Pennsylvania ID in Pennsylvania

Replace a lost ID card or renew an expired photo ID by the same methods detailed above. You may also get a DMV replacement ID or renewal ID through the PennDOT online portal by creating an account and paying the applicable fee.

DMV ID Costs in Pennsylvania

The current DMV ID cost in Pennsylvania is $30.50, regardless of the applicant’s age.

Last updated on Wednesday, March 4 2020.