Neilson receives award for his advocacy on Real ID enforcement in Pa. (with video)

Commonwealth receives Oct. 10 enforcement extension

HARRISBURG, June 21 – State Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Phila., today was awarded for his efforts on moving Pennsylvania towards enforcement of the federal Real ID Act requirements.  

The award comes as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, this week granted Pennsylvania a Real ID enforcement extension through Oct. 10, 2017, which means Pennsylvanians will not face access issues when entering federal facilities through that date.   

Neilson said PennDOT estimates Real ID-compliant driver's licenses and identification cards will be available at the customer’s option in 2019. This will allow ample time for people who want a Real ID product to obtain one before the final DHS effective date of Oct. 1, 2020.

“The General Assembly made real strides in May to get Pennsylvania in compliance with the federal law and as a result, the Department of Homeland Security granted us with yet another extension to work towards that compliance,” Neilson said. “I am proud to receive the Recognition Award for Homeland Security Leadership and Public Engagement and to have been part of the movement to assure Pennsylvanians would not need to get passports to board a plane or to have access to federal facilities.”

Neilson said he had been working since the 2015-2016 session to get legislation passed that would repeal the 2012 state law and require the Department of Transportation and other state agencies to comply with the 2005 Real ID Act.

“Representative Neilson has engaged with state officials, other legislators and the public to move the ball forward on behalf of his constituents and all the residents of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said Brian Zimmer, president of Keeping IDentities Safe. “I earnestly believe that Rep. Neilson was the key initiator of action to remove legislation that was blocking the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s capability to comply.” 

Keeping IDentities Safe works to raise awareness for states to protect people’s driver’s licenses and IDs from risk of terrorism and theft. 

For additional information, visit Information about REAL ID enforcement in Pennsylvania can be found at