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VERIFY: Yes, you’ll need Real ID-compliant identification to fly this spring

Anyone flying or entering federal buildings after May 3, 2023 will need a Real ID-compliant identification.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Real ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005. 

After security questions at that time and pandemic delays in recent years, a hard deadline is quickly approaching for Americans if they plan to fly or enter federal buildings next year.


Will I need a Real ID-compliant identification to travel soon?


Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows

U.S. Department of Homeland Security


People have until May 3, 2023 to receive a Real ID-compliant identification or risk being denied entry to planes and federal buildings.

This enhanced form of ID is meant to provide a standard layer of security nationwide, rather than have federal security teams check IDs created by each U.S. state and territory. In Maine, residents have an option to apply for a driver's license that includes Real ID credentials.

A passport will work in place of Real ID, as well as multiple lesser-used forms of federal identification.

According to Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, of the 1.15 million Mainers who have a driver’s license or state ID, 13 percent have Real ID, as of Tuesday. While some states have made Real ID mandatory for license holders, she said, she and the legislature wanted to give Mainers a choice. However, she said this will make flying smoother for many.

"If you don’t have that passport or the passport card, or if you’re just not accustomed to carrying your passport or passport card, it’s a good idea to get that Real ID because, in six months, if you are traveling – whether it’s for the holidays to see family or on business – you are going to need either the Real ID or a passport or passport card to board a plane," Bellows explained.

Bellows also urged Mainers not to wait to apply. While the state can issue an emergency license immediately to those who need it, Real ID can take three-to-four weeks to process. You’ll also need some additional documents to apply. That information can be found here.

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