PennDOT has released details about the changes taking place this year.
The agency says the new design has more to do with security enhancements.
The new cards will feature a larger primary portrait and smaller ghost portrait.
There will be a 2-D barcode and it will be laminated with a special pattern with the state's motto, "Virtue, Liberty, and Independence."
However, the IDs are not Real I-D compliant. The state won't release those until 2019.
More on the enhanced features:
- Larger primary portrait and smaller ghost portrait.
- 1D and 2D barcodes, which contain data visible on the front of the card.
- Laser perforation - The keystone outline with "PA" is embedded into the cardstock and can be observed by holding the card up to any light source.
- Laminate - Each card is laminated with an optically-variable pattern with the state motto, "Virtue, Liberty, Independence;" Keystone outline; and "1787," the year when the U.S. constitution was ratified by Pennsylvania.
- Elimination of the magnetic strip on the back of the card.
Drivers are not required to replace their current product until their normal renewal date, although PennDOT says they are welcome to do so by requesting a duplicate product and paying the appropriate fee.
As for REAL ID, last month, Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 3 of 2017, which will allow Pennsylvania to issue REAL ID-compliant driver licenses and identification cards. Once available, they can be used to access airports and federal facilities.
PennDOT says Pennsylvania is under a REAL ID enforcement extension until October 10, 2017, which means that state residents will not face access issues when entering federal facilities through that date. Restrictions on boarding domestic flights with non-compliant IDs do not go into effect until Jan. 22, 2018.
PennDOT says they continue to work with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on further extensions so that residents will not face any restrictions as they work toward issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses and ID cards.
"It's especially important to note that Pennsylvanians will not be required to get a REAL ID-compliant product - the program is completely voluntary and regular license and ID products will remain available," PennDOT says.
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