This page provides important information for a variety of different constituents about the RMV's new identification requirements on getting or renewing a Massachusetts driver's license, learner's permit, or ID card.
- This page, RMV REAL ID Info Center, is offered by
- Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles
RMV REAL ID Info Center
Table of Contents
U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents
All customers need documents showing United States citizenship or lawful presence, in addition to other identification documents, as required by federal and state law - even if you already have a Massachusetts-issued driver's license or ID card.
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.
If you need to renew your U.S. passport, order a birth certificate, renew your green card, or order a replacement Social Security card, see the helpful links below.
In order to be eligible for a REAL ID or a standard driver’s license or ID card, you need to provide valid, verifiable immigration documents as well as proof that you have been granted a legal stay in the United States for at least 12 months.
If eligible, your driver's license or ID card will be coterminous with your length of stay in the United States. In other words, your license or ID will expire when your legal stay is over. Start your application online at Mass.Gov/RMV and answer a few questions to determine exactly what identification documents to bring to the RMV.
Note: The RMV cannot issue a driver’s license to anyone that cannot prove U.S. citizenship or lawful presence in the United States, in accordance with state and federal law.
Additional Resources for Non-U.S. Citizens
Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
If you are present in the United States under TPS and live in Massachusetts, you may be eligible to apply to receive or renew a Massachusetts license or identification card.
To apply, you must visit a RMV Service Center and bring appropriate documentation of your TPS to be verified through the United States Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS) Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) System. You can check your eligibility and necessary documents at www.USCIS.gov/SAVE/casecheck.
Please understand that while many documents will verify on the first visit to the RMV, other documents may require a second or third review with USCIS, and take up to several weeks and additional Service Center visits to process. If this process takes more than 60 days, you will be required to re-apply.
The RMV encourages TPS customers to come to the RMV to begin the application process at least 20 days prior to the expiration of their current license or ID card to ensure there is enough time to complete the transaction should your document(s) require additional resources or review and cannot be completed at the Service Center.
If your case cannot be completed on your first visit, you will be given an Application Status Letter from the RMV containing important information about how to check the status of your SAVE case with USCIS. It’s important that you bring the Application Status Letter with you on all future RMV visits.
Additional Resources for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
Massachusetts Learner's Permit Holders
If you were issued a learner’s permit prior to March 26, 2018 and have not passed your road test by March 26th, you will need to prove your U.S. citizenship or lawful presence before you receive your driver’s license. You will also need to decide if you want a REAL ID Massachusetts driver’s license or a Standard Massachusetts driver’s license.
If you have not scheduled or taken a road test yet, the RMV strongly recommends you provide this proof online if possible BEFORE the road test. You may be able to prove your lawful presence for a Standard driver’s license at Mass.Gov/RMV. For a REAL ID, visit an RMV Service Center with the required documentation.
Passing the road test alone will NOT make you a licensed driver if you have not proven lawful presence. You will remain a learner’s permit holder until you have provided the required documentation and passed a road test.
If you CANNOT prove lawful presence, you should either cancel your road test (if you have one scheduled) or not schedule a road test at all.
Out of State Driver's License and ID Holders
New to Massachusetts? You must transfer your out-of-state driver's license or identification card to Massachusetts upon becoming a resident of the Commonwealth. For required documents and policies, see links below in the Key Actions section below.
To transfer a REAL ID from another state to a Massachusetts REAL ID, you must provide documents showing United States citizenship or lawful presence, in addition to other identification documents, as required by federal and state law.
Start your application online at Mass.Gov/RMV and answer a few questions to determine exactly what identification documents to bring to the RMV.
Drivers Age 75 or Older
Customers over the age of 75 seeking a REAL ID or a Standard driver's license or ID card may begin their application online at mass.gov/rmv but must present official required documentation in person to complete the renewal or issuance process. If you are a AAA member, you may visit a AAA office to renew your driver's license or ID card.
For a list of RMV and AAA offices, click here.
If you need to obtain a replacement Social Security card, birth certificate, etc., please see the U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents and Non-U.S. Citizens sections above for helpful links.
For additional resources for older drivers, click here.
The RMV wants to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth are aware of license and ID application requirements. We also understand that certain populations may struggle with obtaining the required documents to get or renew a credential. The RMV has created an affidavit that may be used for individuals who are unable to prove Massachusetts residency while actively receiving services from an official institution. A pre-approved institution must submit this form for review and approval by the RMV's Driver Licensing Department. Upon proper completion, review, and approval by an RMV representative, this affidavit may be accepted as one proof of Massachusetts residency for a Massachusetts identification card only. This affidavit cannot be used to obtain a learner's permit or driver's license.
Institutions serving a constituency that may benefit from this affidavit should contact the RMV at MASSDOTARAProgram@dot.state.ma.us to be considered for approval as an official institution.
Also, customers who need to obtain a replacement Social Security card, birth certificate, etc., please see the U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents and Non-U.S. Citizens sections above for helpful links.