Starting Oct. 1, PennDOT can no longer accept birth certificates issued by the Puerto Rican government prior to July 1, 2010, as acceptable proof of identity when applying for a driver's license or photo identification card, the agency announced.

The change is due to a law passed by the Puerto Rican government last year, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, invalidating all Puerto Rico-issued birth certificates issued prior to July 1, 2010. The law aims to strengthen the birth certificate issuance process to combat the fraudulent use of Puerto Rico-issued birth certificates to unlawfully obtain U.S. passports, Social Security benefits and other federal services.

Individuals born in Puerto Rico who were issued a birth certificate prior to July 1, 2010, may obtain a new, valid copy of their birth certificate from the Puerto Rico Vital Statistics Record Office. Puerto Rico's government advises Puerto Rican-born individuals living stateside that only those who need a birth certificate for a transaction or official purpose need apply as soon as possible; those who want to obtain a copy for their records can do so at a later date.

In order to assist the Puerto Rican-born community living in the U.S., the Puerto Rican government has launched an online process for individuals to apply for the new birth certificates available via www.pr.gov [1]. For more information about the new law and instructions on how to apply by mail, visit www.prfaa.com [2].

For additional information on the identity and residency documentation needed to obtain a Pennsylvania driver's license or photo ID card, visitthe Identity/Security Information Center on PennDOT's Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.state.pa.us [3].