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Press Release Massachusetts residents may continue to use a driver’s license or ID card for air travel and for federal identification under Department of Homeland Security extension. MassRMV will therefore fully start to implement REAL ID in March 2018

MA residents with a valid U.S. passport or passport card never need a REAL ID.
For immediate release:
  • Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles

Media Contact

Jacquelyn Goddard, Director of Communications, MassDOT

BostonThe Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) announced today that Massachusetts citizens or lawfully-present residents will have up to October 1, 2020 to obtain a REAL ID to travel in the U.S. by airplane or enter certain U.S. government buildings, following a compliance extension by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The one-year compliance extension grants the RMV additional time to implement federal requirements and ensure that the agency is prepared to begin to issue REAL ID license and identification (ID) cards on March 26, 2018.

REAL ID is a new type of driver’s license or identification (ID) card that the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is implementing under federal law for citizens or lawfully-present residents. The extension means Massachusetts license or ID card holders may use their existing valid license or ID for purposes of entering a federal building or for traveling by air through October 1, of 2020. Residents who have a valid U.S. passport or passport card will never need a REAL ID.

REAL ID is a requirement of the federal REAL ID Act of 2005, which sets security and identity standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards, including lawful presence. On October 1, 2020, a valid U.S or foreign passport, U.S. passport card, military ID, or a driver’s license that is REAL ID compliant, will be required to enter U.S. government buildings and to board flights within the U.S. After October 1, 2020, current Massachusetts driver’s licenses and ID cards will no longer be accepted in instances when a REAL ID credential is necessary.

The RMV encourages license and/or ID card holders to visit to learn more and to use the REAL ID Wizard to help determine if a REAL ID credential is appropriate for that citizen or lawfully-present resident. The REAL ID Wizard can be navigated in about one minute with respondents able to answer questions with a simple “yes” or “no.”

The RMV is making it easier for customers to get ready for their driver’s license or ID card application or renewal. Starting on March 26, 2018, the RMV will launch an online service that allows customers to complete most of their application at home, saving time in the Service Center.

“While Massachusetts customers do not need a REAL ID until October 1, 2020 to travel domestically by air or enter federal buildings, the RMV is committed to making REAL ID licenses and ID cards available on March, 26 2018 as new or renewed credentials are sought,” said RMV Registrar Erin Deveney. “We encourage everyone to go online first and save time, and will continue to communicate compliance and implementation updates throughout this process.”

A comprehensive, state-wide communication outreach program, called REAL ID, REAL Answers, will begin this fall to educate Massachusetts license or ID card holders in regard to the information they need about REAL ID. Advertising will occur in print, on broadcast outlets, on billboards, at service stations, convenience and liquor stores, malls and movie theaters as well as other sites. In additional, social media communication channels will be utilized, including, MassDOT Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. RMV outreach information will be in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Anyone with questions about REAL ID should visit:

Additional information can be found on the website of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security:



Media Contact

Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles  

The Registry of Motor Vehicle (RMV) credentials and delivers driver, non-driver, and vehicle services. We also have the very serious responsibility of making sure all drivers, as well as the vehicles on our roadways, are safe and fit to operate.


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