Homeland Security agrees to extension of REAL ID compliance period for Maine

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AUGUSTA – The Department of Homeland Security has granted an extension of the State of Maine’s REAL ID Act compliance period, which will allow federal agencies to accept driver’s licenses and identification cards from Maine.

The Department of Homeland Security notified the Department of the Secretary of State today that DHS has granted the State’s request for an extension until Oct. 10, 2017. With this extension, Maine licenses and IDs are once again acceptable identification for access to military bases, nuclear power plants and other federal facilities.

The DHS is implementing the final phase of the REAL ID Act, a federal law passed in 2005 that seeks to improve the security standards for state-issued identification credentials. On April 28, 2017, Gov. Paul LePage signed into law LD 306, which requires the State of Maine to comply with the federal REAL ID Act. Passage of this law has allowed the State to request this compliance extension while working towards implementation.

During the waiver period, the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles will work toward implementing the systems and procedures that will enable BMV to issue Real ID-compliant licenses and IDs. This system must be in place by July 1, 2019, per the new Maine law. At that time, any person who desires a Real ID-compliant license or ID will be able to obtain one at their local BMV office. In addition to the standard license requirements,link at http://maine.gov/sos/bmv/licenses/index.html Real ID applicants must provide proof of legal presence, such as a birth certificate (a copy of which will remain on file with the BMV) and submit to a photograph using facial recognition technology.

Beginning Jan. 22, 2018, citizens in states without either the compliant ID or a compliance waiver will not be able to use their IDs to board commercial aircraft. The State of Maine, however, expects to have a renewed, valid waiver at that time.

Once REAL ID-compliant credentials are available in Maine, those who have a valid license or ID will not be required to renew it prior to its expiration date, unless they choose to do so because they desire/need a REAL ID-compliant credential. Upon renewal, the BMV will issue REAL ID-compliant credentials unless a person states that s/he would prefer to opt out. Those who opt out will be choosing a “non-compliant” license. Beginning in 2020, those who choose to have “non-compliant” licenses will need to produce a passport or another acceptable identity document for federal purposes that require identification, such as boarding commercial aircraft and accessing federal facilities.

Please note that REAL ID does not affect:

  • Entering federal facilities that do not require a person to present identification Applying for or receiving federal benefits
  • Being licensed by a state to drive
  • Accessing health or life-preserving services (including hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement, or constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant’s access to court proceedings)
  • Participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigations.

For additional information, visit the Department of Homeland Security website at https://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs .