Countdown is on for Maine residents to obtain a REAL ID before May 2025

Local Press Release
Thursday, June 20, 2024

PORTLAND, Maine – Do you have a star on your Maine driver’s license? If not, there’s still time to get your REAL ID-compliant driver’s license with that star on it. But it’s better to get it sooner, rather than later.

In less than one year, Maine residents who want to board an airplane for a domestic flight will soon need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license. If their driver’s license is not REAL ID-compliant, they will need another form of approved identification, such as a passport to board their flight or enter a secure federal facility or military base. The REAL ID driver’s license and identification card have a small star in the upper right corner to indicate they meet federal regulations that establish minimum security standards.

REAL ID goes into effect in less than one year, starting May 7, 2025, and the countdown is on!

 “The Portland International Jetport (PWM) takes pride in providing easy access to the air transportation system, so we are reminding our passengers of the REAL ID deadline for boarding domestic flights,” said Paul Bradbury, PWM Airport Director. “Please help us keep our TSA security checkpoint lines moving efficiently.  Anyone who plans on using their driver’s license as a form of identification when flying domestically must get a REAL ID compliant license between now and next May.”

 “REAL ID is a coordinated effort by the states and the federal government to improve the reliability and accuracy of driver licenses and identification cards,” said Daniel Velez, TSA New England Spokesperson. “The improvements are intended to inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.”

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.  

To get the REAL ID star, 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 (passport or U.S. birth certificate), proof of legal presence for non-U.S. citizens, 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 travelers into the checkpoint without a REAL ID-compliant license or another form of acceptable ID after May 7, 2025, because of a federal law (The REAL ID Act of 2005) that mandates that a REAL ID is needed for federal purposes.

TSA travel document checkers throughout Maine will soon be handing travelers a REAL ID reminder notice if they currently do not possess a REAL ID.

For more information and details about how to obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card in Maine, visit the Maine BMV REAL-ID site.