REAL ID Extension for Mainers…Again
My driver's license will expire in August (Happy Birthday Renee!) So I called the BMV to see if I could renew it this early. They said no and please wait closer to the date and their lobby area at BMV might even be open for walk-in service by then. They are currently just renewing those whose license expired while the CV-19 issue brought things to a halt. I not only need my driver's license I want to make it a Real ID-compliant license. While I have a passport that is hard to carry around for domestic travel. Originally, Maine, last extension on using our non-Real ID state driver's license as ID to get on a flight had until October of 2020. That was it...done...no more extensions Mainers. Enter the CV-19 crisis so there was a last-minute change and Maine have ONE MORE pass...and it has been extended again until Oct 1, 2021.
Here is some of the back story on Maine, Real ID and why we are so late to the party. Mainers can be a wee bit stubborn. Real ID is proving to be one area where it is showing up. A couple of years after Sept 11th terrorist attacks a system was created for state IDs that had more info on people. It was done to make our state ID's useful for getting on planes and into certain buildings or areas owned by the federal government. Since the card had this info on record, not just shown as proof to get the card, it worried MANY people about government overreach and a potential breach of our personal information. Then the cost issue...the state needed to buy new stuff to create these compliant licenses. In the beginning, Maine and Mainers seemed to take pride in the 'oh no we are not going to do that!' WELL, until the federal government said...WELL, you will not be able to go into a federal building or on an airplane. Maine had many extensions on all of this. But time was running out and Maine got on board, has the equipment and is now turning out Real ID-compliant licenses and state IDs.
BUT...wait there is more...
Here is another issue that came to light last summer. The Kennebec Journal has a story and says Mainers are not opting for the Real ID-compliant stuff. Well..it does cost a bit more. $30 for a standard driver's license and $55 for the Real ID compliant. But the standard license (the one you can not use to get on a plane) has in the corner“ NOT VALID FOR REAL ID PURPOSES.”
As a result, that little warning is causing problems for people just trying to cash a check, pick up their prescription, or buy some beer. See ...it is a form of identification that is real and valid but it is not Real ID (get me on a plane or into the federal building) compliant. People who are required to check for valid IDs are receiving additional info to understand the nuances.
I know...you are thinking ..so this is an issue for a few people...what is the big deal. Be it cost, stubbornness, or whatever...as of last summer only about 20% of Mainers renewing their licenses are opting for the federally compliant version. Those people will NEED a valid US Passport to fly even in the United States or to access certain federal sites.
So...now you know the deal and its impact. But the choice is yours and that is kinda nice to have.