It's been pushed back and back again ever since 2007, but this time it appears to be on track to happen, so you might want to think about getting your Real ID soon.

The Real ID Act was enacted in 2005 after the events of 9/11 as a way to implement new federal standards of security for state-issued drivers' licenses, among other things. The driver's license however is what will affect most of us. Those that do not have a passport will need a Real ID to board a plane to fly anywhere domestically. Without one, you're grounded.

This handy video from the Maine Department of the Secretary of State explains why you need a Real ID. The Secretary of State's office loves their animated videos.

My driver's license is up for renewal this month. In fact, it's a bit overdue. I came across my very first license recently, and they sure have changed in 35 years. They actually typed the info out on a card and laminated them back then.

Jeff Parsons
Jeff Parsons

Since I'm up for renewal, I'm going to get a Real ID before the deadline of May 3, 2023. I don't have a passport because I've never even left the country. Canada in the 80s doesn't count, so this is the smart move.

If you plan to get a Real ID, it's simple. You only need three things:

  • One document that establishes identity, date of birth, and proof of U.S. citizenship, lawful permanent residence, or other lawful status in the U.S.
  • Provide Social Security Number (card not required) or evidence of Social Security Number ineligibility.
  • Two documents to establish proof of residence in the State of Maine, such as a utility bill, paycheck stub or mortgage statement (P.O. Box is not acceptable).

For a fee, you can get a certified copy of your birth certificate from the city or town office in which you were born. You likely know your social security number, and a utility bill and pay stub are easy to come by, so the process is pretty simple.

Remember, if you want to get on a plane and fly somewhere in the US and don't have a passport, you'll need to get a Real ID by May 3, 2023.

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