Homeland Security grants final REAL ID waiver, Maine licenses acceptable for federal ID purposes October 1, 2020

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AUGUSTA – The Department of Homeland Security has issued the State of Maine its final waiver for REAL ID Act compliance, which will allow federal agencies to continue to accept regular driver’s licenses and identification cards from Maine through Oct. 1, 2020.

The current waiver, issued by the Department of Homeland Security, expires at midnight on Oct. 10, 2018. Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap submitted a request for a renewal on Aug. 7, 2018 and the Department of Homeland Security has granted that request.

The current waiver is now valid through Oct. 1, 2019, however DHS will not be enforcing REAL ID requirements until Oct. 1, 2020. Thus, until Oct. 1, 2020, regular Maine driver’s licenses and IDs will be accepted as valid identification for federal purposes, such as entrance to federal facilities and boarding commercial aircraft.

The Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles is now implementing the necessary systems and procedures to issue Real ID licenses and IDs beginning July 1, 2019. At that time, any person who desires a Real ID license or ID will be able to obtain one at their local BMV office. In addition to the standard license requirements https://www.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 image verification technology.

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 compliance waivers while working towards implementation.

Once REAL ID credentials are available in Maine, those who have a valid regular 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 credential. Upon renewal, the BMV will issue REAL ID credentials upon request. Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, those who choose to have a regular license 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.

Visit the Maine Department of the Secretary of State website for more information, including an explainer animation, frequently asked questions, a brochure about REAL ID and the history of REAL ID in Maine, at https://www.maine.gov/sos/ .