Guide New Massachusetts Requirements

On 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

On 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 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!


REAL ID card image


Additional Resources

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

Additional Resources

Info Center

The RMV Info Center page provides important information for a variety of different constituents about the RMV's new requirements on getting or renewing a Massachusetts driver's license, learner's permit, or ID card.

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