The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued an additional one-year waiver for Maine’s REAL ID Act compliance, which will allow federal agencies to continue to accept driver’s licenses and identification cards from Maine through Oct. 10, 2018, state officials said Thursday.

Mainers were in danger of no longer being able to use their driver’s licenses to pass through airport security or to gain access to federal facilities next year because the state’s licenses do not comply with the federal standards, such as digitized photos that can be used with facial recognition technology.

DHS had issued a previous compliance waiver to Maine on June 15, which expired at midnight on Oct. 10. Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap submitted a request for a one-year renewal on Sept. 15, and Maine had been operating on a grace period extension while the waiver renewal was under review by DHS.

Now the state has been granted another year. During the grace period, Maine driver’s licenses and IDs will be accepted as valid identification for federal purposes, such as entrance to federal facilities and boarding commercial aircraft.

DHS is implementing the final phase of the REAL ID Act, a federal law passed in 2005 that seeks to improve the security standards for state-issued identification credentials. On April 28, Gov. Paul LePage signed into law LD 306, which requires Maine to comply with the federal act.

Passage of the state law has allowed the state to request annual compliance waivers while working toward implementation.


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