BANGOR – Mainers have less than a year to get a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license to travel and at a press conference in Bangor Monday, officials urged people to apply now.
“It’s holiday time, people are very focused on getting holiday gifts this time of year,” said Lisa Farbstein, a TSA spokesperson. “Get yourself a holiday gift, get yourself your REAL ID-compliant license.”
Starting Oct. 1, 2020, Mainers will need a REAL ID if they want to use their driver’s license as identification to go through airport security.
TSA officials are encouraging people to get their REAL ID now.
“You don’t want to be caught at the last minute, lines will be longer at the DMV,” Farbstein said.
The 9/11 hijackers used fake IDs, prompting the REAL ID Act to be passed in 2005.
For years, Maine was one of the states that opted out for privacy concerns but now there’s no more waivers.
Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said Maine only added photos to driver’s licenses in the 1980s to deter underage drinking.
“Unforeseen to all of us was the effect of putting a photograph on an official state document, it sort of became a de facto identity device even though that’s not what it was ever intended to be, nor how it was constructed,” Dunlap said.
The new ID has security features embedded in the card and requires you to bring more documents to the BMV to get one.
Just like before, you can still use other acceptable forms of identification if you have them, like a tribal ID, passport card and a passport itself.
Maine started issuing REAL IDs in July. Airport officials said they’re already popping up in security lines.
“There are some Mainers that already have made the jump to the real ID, myself included,” said Tony Caruso, director of Bangor International Airport.
Dunlap said you can still use your old ID to drive and for other purposes within Maine come October 2020. But if you’re flying, allow seven to 10 days for your real ID to come in after you apply.
If your license is not up for renewal, you can pay for a duplicate license for $30.
For what documents to bring to the BMV, you can check out this link on the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles’s website.