Guide REAL ID

Beginning March 26, 2018, the RMV is changing the way you get and renew your driver’s license and ID card. 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. It is an additional layer of security for Massachusetts driver’s licenses or ID cards. You will not need a REAL ID until October of 2020.

What is REAL ID?

Beginning March 26, 2018, the RMV is changing the way you get and renew your driver’s license and ID card.

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.

It is an additional layer of security for Massachusetts driver’s licenses or ID cards.

Massachusetts has received an extension for when you need a REAL ID.

You will not need a REAL ID until October of 2020.

However, 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 be asked for a passport or REAL ID when you fly in the U.S. or enter certain federal buildings.

The RMV suggests you go online and renew your driver’s license or ID card as usual and then, decide if REAL ID is right for you in 2020.

REAL ID will be available beginning in March of 2018. However, if everyone applies at this time, it could cause very long wait times in RMV Service Centers.

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

 

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Try the REAL ID, Real Answers Wizard to help you decide!

The REAL ID Wizard is a tool to help you decide if REAL ID is right for you.

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Renew your driver's license/ID card online

You can renew your driver's license or Mass ID card one year before it expires!

We are changing the way you get and renew your driver’s license and identification card starting on March 26, 2018.

  1. If you renew prior to 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).

  2. If you renew on or after March 26, 2018, you MUST prove your U.S. citizenship or lawful presence in the United States and decide if you want a:

  • REAL ID Massachusetts driver’s license or ID card (valid for federal purposes);

OR

  • Standard Massachusetts driver’s license or ID card (not valid for federal purposes).

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 ID

  • Transportation worker identification credential

  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential
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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.

Compare Cards

REAL ID and Standard ID images

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