The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended a grace period that will give Maine more time to comply with the federal Real ID Act.

The state’s deadline for compliance was extended from Tuesday to Jan. 22, the Maine Secretary of State’s Office said in a statement Tuesday. During the grace period, Maine driver’s licenses and IDs will be accepted as valid identification for federal purposes, including entrance to federal facilities, said Kristen Muszynski, spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s Office.

Muszynski said the waiver can be renewed annually through 2020, if the state can demonstrate that it is making efforts to comply. The law passed in 2005 seeks to improve security standards for state-issued identification credentials.

Gov. Paul LePage signed a bill in April that requires the state to comply with the Real ID Act. Passage of that law has allowed the state to continue working toward compliance.

In the next several months, Maine will develop systems and procedures that will enable the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to issue Real ID-compliant licenses and identification cards. The new system must be fully functional by July 1, 2019, according to the new state law.

Muszynski said Real ID applicants must provide proof of legal presence, such as a birth certificate, and agree to be photographed with facial recognition technology.

Residents of states that don’t have waivers effective Jan. 22 will not be able to use their IDs to board commercial aircraft.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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