The Star-Herald

Secretary of state offers Real ID info

AUGUSTA, Maine — Secretary of State Matt Dunlap is reaching out to help educate the public now that the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles is issuing two different types of driver’s licenses and state identification cards.

“All retail cashiers, pharmacists, bank tellers and others who must review customers’ identification before completing a transaction need to know that when they see an ID that says, ‘Not valid for Real ID purposes,’ that ID is still valid to complete their transaction,” said Dunlap.

As of July 1, 2019, the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles is offering Maine residents the option of obtaining driver’s licenses and state identification cards that comply with the Federal Real ID Act of 2005. 

Many Mainers are still choosing to renew their standard license or ID cards, which are now marked as “Not valid for Real ID purposes.” This statement denotes that these IDs are not compliant with the Federal Real ID Act, but they are valid for all state identification purposes, including: conducting financial transactions, purchasing age-restricted items such as liquor and tobacco, registering to vote, operating or renting a motor vehicle (driver’s license only), picking up a prescription at the pharmacy and donating blood.

Beginning in October 2020, the federal government will require Real ID-compliant identification for domestic air travel or access to secure federal facilities. However, this will not affect the validity of the non-compliant ID for all other purposes, Dunlap said.

The federal government is requiring states to use language on these IDs that can be confusing for those who are not familiar with the Real ID law, said Dunlap. 

“Several Mainers have told us that their ID has been rejected when they were trying to purchase alcohol, pick up a prescription or cash a check, and we are seeking to educate the public to eliminate these unnecessary inconveniences,” he added.

To help residents avoid complications, the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles will provide a wallet card with information explaining the ID’s validity for all non-federal purposes. The card also includes a QR code that can be scanned with a smartphone to display the state’s Real ID website, .

Anyone who has obtained a license or state identification card since July 1, 2019, may visit their BMV branch later this month to obtain a wallet card, or contact the secretary of state’s office at 626-8400. The cards will be issued with every renewal or first issuance of non-compliant driver’s licenses and state identification cards for a one-year period.

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