Guide New Massachusetts Requirements

Beginning March 26, 2018, to get or renew any driver's license, ID card, or learner's permit, you need documentation showing U.S. citizenship or lawful presence as required by federal and state law.

Lawful presence

Lawful presence means that a person is legally living in the United States according to federal immigration laws. All U.S. citizens and lawfully permanent residents have permanent lawful presence in the U.S.  Non-U.S. citizens who are studying, working, or living temporarily in the U.S. may have temporary lawful presence that may vary in length.

For U.S. citizens, a valid, unexpired U.S. passport is sufficient proof of lawful presence. U.S. citizens may also provide a certified copy of their U.S. birth certificate.

For permanent residents, a valid permanent resident card (green card) is sufficient proof of lawful presence.

For customers who are not U.S. citizens, you need to provide valid, verifiable immigration documents as well as proof that you have been granted a legal stay in the U.S. for at least 12 months. Your license or ID will expire when your legal stay is over.

Required documents

Beginning March 26, 2018, you need documents showing U.S. citizenship or lawful presence as required by federal and state law.

Review the document checklist below for the types of documents you will need when getting or renewing your driver’s license, learner's permit, or ID card.

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Additional Resources

REAL ID

REAL ID is a Federal Security Standard for IDs that was created in 2005 as a result of increased federal security measures after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

REAL ID will be available beginning March 26, 2018; however, you will not need a REAL ID until October of 2020. If you have an active passport and don’t mind carrying it, you will never need a REAL ID.

After October of 2020, you will need either a passport or REAL ID when you fly in the U.S. or enter certain federal buildings.

Many Massachusetts residents may not need a REAL ID. To find out if REAL ID is right for you, answer a few questions here.

Watch this video for more detailed information on REAL ID and Standard credentials and what you need to get one.

Remember, you don’t need a REAL ID until October of 2020!

 

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Additional Resources

Renew your driver's license/ID card online

Did you know that you can renew your driver’s license or ID card up to 12 months in advance? Avoid the line and go online to renew today!

New documentation is required when you get or renew your driver’s license or identification card(s) starting March 26, 2018. For both REAL and Standard credentials, the RMV must verify either your U.S. citizenship or lawful presence in the country before we can issue you a driver’s license or ID card.

Before March 26, 2018: You can process your renewal as usual: online or in person at an RMV Service Center or AAA Location (if you are a member). We encourage you to renew early.

As of March 26, 2018: you need documentation showing U.S. citizenship or lawful presence as required by federal and state law and you need to decide which Massachusetts credential you would like:

  • Standard Massachusetts driver’s license or ID Card (not valid for federal purposes)
    • You may be able to validate your U.S. citizenship or lawful presence documents online, such as entering your valid U.S. passport number. If you chose a Standard ID card at time of renewal and then decide to obtain a REAL ID, there will be a $25 duplicate fee.
  • REAL ID Massachusetts driver’s license or ID Card (valid for federal purposes)
    • You will need to visit an RMV Service Center with original copies of your supporting documents showing U.S. citizenship or lawful presence, as well as other required documents.

 

Visit the REAL ID, Real Answers Wizard to help you decide which type of card is right for you.

Frequent travelers

58% of Massachusetts residents have a U.S. passport.

If you have an active passport, passport card, or even a Global Entry card that you are comfortable carrying, you may use these forms of identification to fly domestically starting October 1, 2020. Individuals with access to these other types of IDs can use these TSA approved documents for passing through airport security:

  • U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents

  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo IDs

  • Transportation worker identification credentials

  • U.S. Merchant Mariner credentials
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Additional Resources

Non-U.S. citizens

In order to be eligible for a REAL ID or a standard driver’s license, you must prove both lawful presence and a valid stay of at least 12 months in the U.S.

The RMV cannot issue a driver’s license to anyone that cannot prove U.S. citizenship or lawful presence in the United States.

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