Massachusetts Real ID Requirements

There are new requirements for getting or renewing a standard Massachusetts driver's license.

The Registry of Motor Vehicles requires Massachusetts residents to choose between a Real ID or a standard license. Real IDs meet federal security standards and can be used for domestic air travel and to enter some secure federal buildings, while a standard ID does not. Obtaining a Real ID requires more extensive documentation, including proof of identity, Social Security number, and state residency. This will mean bringing more documents to your appointment at the RMV.

The RMV is reminding people that they have one year left before standard driver’s licenses and Mass ID cards without a star will no longer be valid for federal identification purposes. After May 3, 2023, only Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses and Mass IDs will be valid for boarding flights or entering secure federal facilities like military bases.


To qualify for a Real ID, applicants must provide two documents showing both their Social Security number and Massachusetts residency. The agency accepts many types of documents, including government mail, utility bills, credit card statements, medical records, property tax or rental or lease statements, and employment or school documents.

Applicants must also bring a document showing their full legal name. This can be a birth certificate, U.S. passport, W-2 or 1099 tax form, or pay stub that shows the full Social Security number. If you’ve had a name change, you must bring documentation for each change.

How to Apply for Real ID in Massachusetts

How to Apply for Real ID in Massachusetts?

You can get a REAL ID by applying when you renew your Massachusetts driver’s license or state identification card. The process is simple, but you must present a valid photo ID and proof of residency. Proof of identity and residency can be provided by documents such as a current or expired passport, a government-issued document with your name and date of birth, or an original or certified copy of your birth certificate.

The RMV has a dedicated website to guide applicants through the process. You can also download the application and review the required documentation in advance. It is important to double-check that your documentation is complete, as any missing or illegible information will be rejected. You can also ask questions and schedule an appointment at a RMV service center to get help with the application process.

REAL IDs will be required to board domestic flights or enter certain federal buildings, such as prisons and military facilities, after October 1, 2020. However, if you prefer to skip the REAL ID, you can still apply for a standard Massachusetts driver’s license or ID card and use it as your federal form of ID.

You can get a REAL ID by visiting your local Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) branch office. You can even get one during your next vehicle renewal if you’re eligible to do so.


If you want to fly in the United States or enter secure federal facilities (like military bases), a REAL ID is a must. This is a federal requirement created to improve national security and combat the threat of terrorism. However, it’s important to remember that a Real ID is not mandatory for all travelers. In fact, most people can still board domestic flights and enter secure federal buildings with their standard driver’s license or ID card.

In addition to providing the required information, you will need to pay a fee. You can pay the fee with cash, money order, check, or credit card. Most RMV service centers accept multiple methods of payment, but it’s best to call ahead to see what’s available at your location. You can also make an appointment at an RMV service center if you’d like to save time. You can do this online or by calling your local office.

How to Upgrade MA driver's license or ID to a REAL ID

How to Upgrade MA driver’s license or ID to a REAL ID?

The process to upgrade your MA driver’s license or ID to a REAL ID is complicated and involves more documentation than usual. It is best to visit your state’s RMV website ahead of time to see a full list of required documents. You must provide one document proving your Social Security number and two proofs of your residence. Additionally, if you are in a temporary lawful status (such as asylum, deferred action, or a pending permanent resident application), you must still bring in a valid US passport or visa.

It is worth noting that you can opt out of the new requirements and stick with your standard MA driver’s license or ID card. However, if you plan on flying or entering certain federal buildings after October of 2023, it would make sense to get a REAL ID now.

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