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PennDOT phases in newly-designed driver licenses, identification cards

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As part of ongoing security enhancements, Pennsylvnia Department of Transportation starts this week to roll out the security features of its driver license and identification cards.

“The update is an important component of PennDOT’s ongoing work to enhance and protect the integrity of the driver license and identification card issuance process,” PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said.

PennDOT started to pilot the new products at the Summerdale Driver License Center in Enola September 12.

All Driver and Photo centers will transition to the new products by mid-November 2022. The new products will be phased in over the next four-year renewal cycle and will replace existing products.

Both standard and REAL ID compliant products will use the new design and security features. REAL ID is optional in Pennsylvania, and customers are able to opt into REAL ID.

Beginning May 3, 2023, Pennsylvanians will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, photo ID card, or another form of federally acceptable identification (such as a valid passport or military ID) to board a domestic commercial flight or enter a federal building or military installation that requires ID.

The cards look different and have additional enhanced security features that improve fraud prevention and protect from counterfeiting and alteration.

Some of the enhanced features include:

  • Guilloche Security Design, a feature that includes sophisticated techniques to embed a variety of customized security patterning into the credential, using non-commercial software developed specifically for high security documents (banknotes, passports, ID cards, etc).
  • Optically Variable Ghost Portrait and Variable Data with UV, features that change their appearance when the viewing angle of the card changes, which moves them from fully visible to non-visible.
  • The card also includes an ultraviolet (UV) response that fluoresces under UV lighting. The UV response is fixed – visible under UV light regardless of viewing angle.
  • Dynamic Look Through Element (DLTE), a dynamic feature with gold metallic tint that is visible under direct lighting.

The new cards comply with American Association of Motor Vehicle Association (AAMVA) 2020 specifications.


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