Tuesday, May 7, 2024

REAL ID enforcement by TSA one year away

AUGUSTA — One year from today – May 7, 2025 – US travelers that provide a state-issued ID or license to TSA prior to boarding domestic flights must present a REAL ID compliant credential.

While the standard Maine credential is valid for all in-state purposes, as of May 7, 2025, travelers will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, a REAL ID-compliant State ID, a valid U.S. passport, passport card or other federally-issued identity document to fly domestically, or access federal facilities and nuclear power plants.

“Mainers should be aware of the upcoming deadline and consider whether obtaining a REAL ID credential is right for them,” said Secretary of State Shenna Bellows. “For Mainers who want one – either because they don’t have a passport or other qualifying credential, or they want a backup option for domestic flights – our BMV staff are here to assist you.”

The REAL ID is a version of your Maine driver’s license or State ID that is compliant with federal standards for identity documents. All REAL ID-compliant credentials have a version of a white star on the face of the card; in Maine, it is a gold State of Maine outline with a white star cutout in the center.

The REAL ID-compliant credential is optional for Mainers. However, beginning May 7, 2025, those who have only a standard Maine license or State ID will not be able to use it as identification for federal purposes, such as boarding a commercial aircraft.

“Mainers who don’t have a REAL ID credential yet but want one should come in to a branch sooner rather than later,” said Deputy Secretary of State for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles Cathie Curtis. “Processing times for REAL ID credentials require a couple weeks, so taking the time now could save a traveler a big headache at the airport this time next year.”

BMV branch offices are located throughout the state and are open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for pre-scheduled appointments and walk-in service. On average, it takes 10-14 calendar days for an ID card or driver's license to be mailed to a customer, so BMV wants to ensure Mainers who want a REAL ID credential visit a branch well in advance of their expected travel dates.

At the beginning of May, there were 1,178,099 total driver's licenses and state ID cards issued to Mainers. Of those, only 244,391 were REAL ID cards. With only 20% of Mainers choosing a REAL ID, Maine has one of the lowest REAL ID adoption rates in the country.

Mainers can obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or State ID at any Bureau of Motor Vehicles office. For more information about REAL ID in Maine, including a checklist of the necessary documents to obtain the credential, visit

Those who choose to retain a non-REAL ID compliant Maine license or ID card can also find information about alternative forms of ID for federal purposes at Those who prefer to obtain a passport or passport card in lieu of a REAL ID-compliant Maine credential should plan on processing times of 8 to 11 weeks for U.S. passports.