The Real ID Act was passed by the United States Congress in 2005 after the events of 9/11 as a way to implement new federal standards of security for state-issued driver's licenses, among other things.

It's been pushed back and back again ever since 2007, and the latest pushback happened on December 5, extending the deadline to May 7, 2025. So now it will be 20 years after the Real ID Act was passed when it finally starts to be enforced. That is if they don't push it back again.

What's the holdup this time? Covid.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, "The extension is necessary, in part, to address the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ability to obtain a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card. REAL ID progress over the past two years has been significantly hindered by state driver’s licensing agencies having to work through the backlogs created by the pandemic."

So you still have time if you don't have a Real ID and it's easy to get here in Maine. I got mine when my license was up for renewal back in June and it took no time. I even made an appointment with the BMV online.

Those that do not have a passport will need a Real ID in 2025 to board a plane to fly anywhere domestically. Without one, you're grounded.

If you plan to get a Real ID, it's simple. You only need three things:

  • One document that establishes identity, date of birth, and proof of U.S. citizenship, lawful permanent residence, or other lawful status in the U.S.
  • Provide Social Security Number (card not required) or evidence of Social Security Number ineligibility.
  • Two documents to establish proof of residence in the State of Maine, such as a utility bill, paycheck stub or mortgage statement (P.O. Box is not acceptable).

For a fee, you can get a certified copy of your birth certificate from the city or town office in which you were born. You likely know your social security number, and a utility bill and pay stub are easy to come by, so the process is pretty simple.

This handy video from the Maine Department of the Secretary of State explains why you need a Real ID. The Secretary of State's office loves their animated videos.



Remember, if you want to get on a plane and fly somewhere in the US and don't have a passport, you'll need to get a Real ID by May 7, 2025.

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