Maine's Low Key Approach to the May 3, 2023, REAL ID Deadline - When You Will Need a REAL ID to Fly on a Plane

Mark Hake

Maine's Bureau of Motor Vehicles (MBMV) has definitely taken a low-key approach to the federal May 3, 2023, deadline - after which you will need a REAL ID driver's license (or a passport) to fly commercially in the U.S.

Their website has a simple statement:

NOTICE: The Department of Homeland Security has extended the Real ID enforcement deadline. Enforcement will now begin on May 3, 2023.

The truth is that many people in the U.S. won't be aware that as of May 3, 2023, they needed a REAL ID driver's license (and will have to go home and get their passports) in order to get past security at a U.S. airport. In fact, you won't be able to enter a secure Federal building or a military base without a REAL ID, or a passport, or a Dept. of Defense (DoD) ID badge.

A complete list of what the TSA will allow starting May 3, 2023, as ID then can be seen here. But most people will likely just need to get a REAL ID driver's license or ID.

Here is what a Maine REAL ID license looks like this:
Maine REAL ID driver's license sample.Photo byMaine BMV.

This shows that the Maine DL with a REAL ID license has a gold star in the upper right-hand corner - actually this version has a star surrounded by the state of Maine in gold.

Almost all other states have a gold circle with a white star in the middle of the circle, or a black star. This is what makes the REAL ID for Maine somewhat different. This is another way that Maine seems to be taking an off-key approach to the REAL ID requirements.

Nevertheless, Maine's driver's license indicates that this is a REAL ID license with the star in the upper right-hand corner.

How To Get a Maine BMV REAL ID License or ID

First, the cost. It will cost between $30 and $59, as seen in this list on Maine's REAL ID Checklist brochure.

Next, to actually get approved for a Maine REAL ID driver's license, you have to bring documents to the BMV and present original copies that prove the following:

1. Identity (name and birth date);

2. Lawful status in the United States;

3. A valid Social Security number, if eligible for one; and

4. Maine residency (at least two documents are required)

Identity and Lawful Status Proof

For example, to prove your identity you can bring an unexpired passport or passport card, or a Certified copy of your birth certificate from a U.S. jurisdiction. Keep in mind that if you have changed your name, you will have to bring documents showing the change.

There is also a whole list of other documents you can bring to show your identity and lawful status in the U.S. The Maine REAL ID brochure shows this list.

Other Proofs

For the Social Security requirement bring your SSN card or else a pay stub with your SSN on it. For the Maine residency requirement, make sure to bring 2 utility bills or bank statements.

Again, the brochure cited above shows which documents you can bring. You can even also use your existing Maine driver's license for one of the two documents needed.

Bottom Line - Don't Procrastinate

It's likely that after the start of the year - especially when people start planning their spring vacations, the lines at Maine's BMV will likely get much longer. People will be in a rush to get their REAL ID in order to beat the May 3, 2023, deadline.

So now is probably a good time to set up an appointment to go to the Maine BMV and present your documents so that your license can be upgraded to the REAL ID.

If you don't do this, be prepared to wait in line for a good while, especially as the May 3, 2023, deadline approaches next year. So now is actually a good time to take care of this to avoid these long lines.


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Mark R. Hake, CFA, writes articles on national and local news, stocks, and market events at,,, and as well as TalkMarkets.

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Mark Hake is a financial analyst, investor, and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). He writes about US and foreign stocks as well as cryptos, hedge funds, and private equity. He previously ran his own hedge fund, investment research firm, and acted as CFO for a fintech startup. He focuses on finding value, arbitrage, and hidden asset opportunities.

Phoenix, AZ

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