(TNS) -- The new-look Pennsylvania driver license, with added security features and a larger photo, will be rolled out statewide by the end of October.
But don't grow too fond of it. You may have to get another license entirely in a couple of years.
That's because the redesign, aimed at thwarting fraud by making licenses harder to counterfeit, doesn't satisfy the demands of the Real ID Act, the 9/11-inspired federal law regulating identification requirements at airports and other federal facilities.
Pennsylvania and many other states are working to implement Real ID after refusing for years to take part in the program because of cost and privacy worries. Gov. Tom Wolf signed Real ID compliance into law last month.
By that time, the license redesign — a routine security update — had already been in the works for two years, PennDOT spokeswoman Alexis Campbell said.
Real ID compliant licenses are expected to be available in Pennsylvania by 2019. At that time, residents who want one will have to take another trip to a PennDOT facility to get a license that will look essentially the same but have a gold star stamped on it.
Real ID isn't mandatory, but residents who don't want to participate will have to show alternative IDs, such as passports, at airports and other federal facilities.
In the meantime, the redesign "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 Leslie S. Richards said in a statement.
The redesigned licenses will be phased in over the next four-year renewal cycle, so current and new card designs will be in circulation during the transition period.