Late last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) granted an extension until October 10, 2017, of the State of Maine’s REAL ID Act compliance period, which will allow federal agencies to once again accept driver’s licenses and identification cards from Maine as acceptable identification for access to military bases, nuclear power plants and other federal facilities.

DHS is implementing the final phase of the REAL ID Act, a federal law passed in 2005 to improve security standards for state-issued identification credentials. Earlier this year, Maine’s Legislature passed a law that now requires the State of Maine to comply with the federal REAL ID Act, and once that was adopted, Maine was able to request a compliance extension while it is working towards implementation.

During the waiver period, the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles will work toward implementing the systems that will enable it to issue Real ID-compliant licenses and IDs. That system must be in place by July 1, 2019, per the new Maine law.

Beginning January 22, 2018, citizens in states without either the compliant ID or a compliance waiver will not be able to use their IDs to board commercial aircraft; Maine expects to have a renewed, valid waiver by then.

Once REAL ID-compliant credentials are available in Maine, those who have a valid license or ID will not be required to renew it prior to its expiration date, unless they want or need a REAL ID-compliant credential. Upon renewal, the BMV will issue REAL ID-compliant credentials unless a person chooses to have a “non-compliant” license. Beginning in 2020, those with “non-compliant” licenses will need to produce a passport or another acceptable identity document for federal purposes that require identification, such as boarding commercial aircraft and accessing federal facilities.