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What Licensees Need to Know About
Pennsylvania's New 2017 driver's licenses

NEW: The PLCB created a short video so you can familiarize yourself with the new designs and features of the licenses and photo ID cards. This video explains how you can check IDs with the new design while using the F.E.A.R. (Feel, Examine, Ask, Return or Refuse) method. 

For more information about the licenses and ID cards, read below.

In Summer 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) began issuing new driver’s licenses and photo identification cards. While these new designs were issued as a pilot program, a full rollout is expected to begin by the end of October 2017. The new designs will be phased in over a four-year renewal cycle. PennDOT advises that both current and new card designs will be in circulation during this four-year transition period.
 
These licenses and ID cards look very different from the outgoing design. They also have additional enhanced security features, which improve fraud prevention and protect from counterfeiting and alteration.

Some of the enhanced features include:
  • Elimination of the magnetic strip on the back of the card
  • 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 card stock 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
The elimination of the magnetic strip means these licenses/ID cards may not be able to be scanned by a card reader unless and until updates are made to the card reader by its manufacturer or provider. Some licensees are manually typing in the driver’s license number or the ID card number into their point-of-sale systems to ensure they are not knowingly serving underaged patrons. Licensees can also ask patrons to complete and sign a Declaration of Age card (PLCB-931).
 
To learn more about the new designs, visit the PennDOT website