Monday, January 11, 2015
Contact: Kristen Muszynski

Secretary of State Dunlap discusses impact of REAL ID implementation on Maine travelers

AUGUSTA ? Travelers can continue to use their Maine driver?s licenses as identification to board airplanes through the next two years, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced Monday, following a recent statement by the federal Department of Homeland Security.

The DHS is entering 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. Beginning on Jan. 22, 2018, a REAL ID-compliant form of identification will be required for air travelers to board a commercial domestic flight. Those with drivers licenses issued from a state that is not REAL ID-compliant and has not received a deadline extension from DHS will have to provide an acceptable alternative form of identification, as listed on the DHS website.

Currently, the State of Maine is not REAL ID-compliant, but has received multiple annual extensions to fully comply with the Act, the most recent of which will expire in October 2016. Thus, Maine driver?s licenses will continue to serve as acceptable identification for air travel until the Jan. 22, 2018 deadline ? and possibly beyond that time, should Maine receive additional extensions.

According to the DHS, 23 states are now fully compliant with the REAL ID Act. Maine is one of 27 states that have received extensions for demonstrating steps toward compliance. Six states and territories ? Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Washington, and American Samoa ? are noncompliant and do not currently have extensions.

The DHS is encouraging states to become compliant with REAL ID in the next few years, since extensions will no longer be granted as of Oct. 1, 2020.

The State of Maine Legislature has voted against several provisions of the REAL ID Act, so a law change would be necessary to reach full compliance. Travelers are encouraged to check the REAL ID compliance status of the State of Maine on the DHS website.