How to Obtain an Identification Card in Pennsylvania

Having an ID card in Pennsylvania can aid you in providing proof of identity and proof of age in a number of scenarios. Therefore, it is important that you understand who a DMV ID card is for, and what you should expect from the DMV ID card application process. Equally important is knowing how to replace a lost ID card, what to do if your ID card is stolen and how to renew an ID card before it expires. Fortunately, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) provides you with a number of ways in which you can replace and renew your PA identification card once you have one on file with PennDOT. For more ID card information, review the sections below.

Who can apply for a new ID card in Pennsylvania?

If you are interested in obtaining an ID card in Pennsylvania, the first question that you should ask is, “Am I eligible for a new PA ID card?” Being eligible for a Pennsylvania ID card is relatively easy, but you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be at least 10 years of age
  • You must be a United States citizen or have lawful presence in the United States

Additionally, a DMV ID card will only be provided to you if you do not have a drivers license in any state. If you do have a drivers license, you can choose to surrender that license in order to obtain a state identification card, instead. Pennsylvania ID cards are meant to provide those who cannot - and who chose not to - drive with a valid form of identification. Even if you are not a driver, having identification is important. Consider how often you are asked to provide ID. You may need to utilize a DMV ID card when you:

  • Wish to purchase alcohol or tobacco.
  • Want to enter a bar or a night club.
  • Travel to the airport.
  • Wish to see a rated-R movie.
  • Confirm a hotel reservation.
  • Get hired for employment.

Learn more about Pennsylvania ID cards by downloading our free, informative guide.

Where to Apply for ID Card Credentials in Pennsylvania

Now that you understand ID card eligibility in Pennsylvania, it is time to learn more about the ID card application, the documentation you must provide and the general application process. While you cannot obtain your initial ID card online, you can request one at your local Driver License Center or by mail. Whichever method you choose, you will need to provide:

  • Your Social Security card.
  • Proof of identity.
  • Two acceptable documents that provide proof of residency, unless you are a minor.
  • Check or money order for the appropriate DMV ID card fees, as cash and card are not accepted by mail or in person.

Additionally, noncitizens seeking ID cards in PA will need to provide proof of lawful presence. And, minors must have parent or guardian consent.

If you request a Pennsylvania ID card by mail, you will need to complete a DL-54A application, which can be found online. Include all of the required documentation, and mail the application to the address that is provided on the DL-54A application. After your DMV ID card application has been reviewed and processed, a PennDOT representative will contact you to direct you to a Photo Center where you will need to have your photo taken for your identification card. However, if you have had a Pennsylvania drivers license, and you are surrendering that license in exchange for an ID card, you may be able to use the photo on file that was used for your drivers license.

How to Replace ID Card Credentials in Pennsylvania

If your Pennsylvania ID card is ever lost, stolen or damaged, it is important that you understand how to replace ID card credentials, and what to do if you suspect your ID was stolen.

You can obtain replacement identification cards online, and this typically considered the most convenient way to do so. If you plan to replace ID card credentials, you can expect to receive your new ID card within 10 business days.

A replacement DMV ID card can also be requested by mail by completing and submitting the DL-54B form and sending a check or money order, payable to PennDOT, for the appropriate replacement fee.

Lastly, you do have the option of updating a duplicate ID card by visiting your local Drivers License Center.

If you suspect that your lost ID card had been stolen, it is crucial that you file a police report, in addition to replacing your DMV ID card. Not only is there a possibility that the police department could have your lost ID card if it has been turned in, but it will also make law enforcement aware of the stolen card if anyone attempts to use it. Additionally, if you experience any kind of fraud, a police report provides a paper trail that will satisfy most institutions.

Another reason why replacement ID cards are requested is when updating your name or your address. While address changes on licenses and PA identification cards can be made online or through the mail by completing a DL-54B form, name changes must be completed in person at any Driver License Center. This is due to the fact that you will need to present your proof of name change with supporting documentation. Keep in mind that you will need to update the Social Security Administration of a name change prior to visiting the Driver License Center.

How to Renew ID Cards in Pennsylvania

It is important to understand how to renew your ID card in Pennsylvania, as an expired ID card is no longer valid, and cannot be used for any identification purposes. It is easy to renew ID card information, and there are two different ways that you can go about doing so. You will receive an ID card renewal application within six months of the expiration date displayed on your identification card.

By far, the most convenient method is to renew ID card online, as this will save you a trip to the photo center. This option for ID card renewing is available to most, so long as the photo that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has on file is still accurate.

Alternatively, to renew a PA ID card, you can complete the DL-54B application that is mailed to you and send a check or a money order with the appropriate fees to the address provided on the application. You will then have a camera card issued, and you will be required to visit an approved photo center in order to obtain your new ID.

Learn more about Pennsylvania ID cards by downloading our comprehensive guide.