AUGUSTA — Maine residents who want to board an airplane have one year to get a star on their driver’s license, indicating that it is a REAL ID credential or they will need another form of approved identification to board their domestic flight or enter a secure federal facility or military base. Maine’s REAL ID driver’s licenses and identification cards have a star in the upper right corner inside a gold outline of the state to indicate that it meets federal regulations that establish minimum security standards.
The upgraded REAL IDs will be required starting October 1, 2020 and the one-year countdown is on!
Maine residents have the option to upgrade to a REAL ID if their license does not currently have the star or stick with an older standard driver’s license. However, a standard credential—without the star—will not be valid to board a domestic flight or to access secure federal facilities, including military bases and some federal offices and will have the words “Not for Federal Identification” printed at the top.
To get the REAL ID star on a driver’s license, individuals will need to visit their local Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles office in person and bring certain documents to prove U.S. citizenship and Maine residency. Required documents include one proof of identity, one proof of legal presence, two proofs of Maine residency, your social security card (if you’ve been issued one) and a current driver’s license if you are applying to exchange one issued by another U.S. state.
Transportation Security Administration officers who staff the ticket document checking station at airports will not allow domestic travelers into the checkpoint without a REAL ID license or another form of acceptable ID after October 1, 2020, because of a federal law (The REAL ID Act of 2005) that mandates that a REAL ID is needed for federal purposes. REAL ID is a coordinated effort by the federal government to improve the reliability and accuracy of driver licenses and identification cards. The improvements are intended to inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.
TSA posted signs at airports nationwide earlier this summer to remind people that REAL ID-compliant licenses or other acceptable forms of ID, such as a valid passport, federal government PIV card or U.S. military ID, will be mandatory for domestic air travel beginning on October 1, 2020. Critically important, on October 1, 2020, individuals who are unable to verify their identity will not be permitted to enter the TSA checkpoint and will not be allowed to fly.
For more information and details about how to obtain a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card in Maine, visit the state’s REAL ID information page.
TSA also has a one-minute video that provides information about flying with a REAL ID.