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State clarifies language on driver’s licenses

Nov 22, 2019

Augusta — Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has announced that the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles is clarifying the language on all driver’s licenses and State identification cards that are not compliant with the federal Real ID Act.

As of July 1, the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles has begun offering Maine residents the option of obtaining driver’s licenses and State identification cards that comply with the Federal Real ID Act of 2005. However, many Mainers are still choosing to renew their standard license or ID cards. As required by federal law, those cards have been marked as non-compliant, with the phrase “Not for Real ID purposes.” This phrase has caused confusion for some retailers who refused to accept these credentials for everyday transactions.

While credentials issued with the “Not for Real ID purposes” language continue to be valid, the BMV is seeking to clarify their validity by updating the language appearing on these non-compliant credentials. As of Nov. 22, driver’s licenses and State ID applicants who choose not to get a Real ID-compliant credential will see the new wording: “Not intended for federal purposes.”

Beginning Oct. 1, 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.

Any person who has obtained a license or ID since July 1 with the older language (“Not for Real ID purposes”) is reminded that their ID will continue to be valid for in-state purposes. They can contact the BMV to obtain an informational wallet card, which they can present to cashiers and others to explain the ID’s validity. Those who desire a non-compliant credential with the new language can order a duplicate license or ID at any BMV location or via the online renewal/replacement service.

To learn more about Real ID compliance in the State of Maine, visit

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