REAL ID in Massachusetts

The federal REAL ID Act mandates that certain license and identification card physical security standards as well as identity security standards are met in the license and ID card issuance process.
RMV Real ID logo

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!


Try the REAL ID Wizard

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



More information

For more information about the federal REAL ID program

View the REAL ID FAQS published by the Department of Homeland Security.


Tell us what you think