April 9, 2018 – Starting on March 26, 2018, Massachusetts will require documentation showing U.S. citizenship or lawful presence in order to obtain a Driver’s License or REAL ID. For U.S. citizens this requires a valid, unexpired U.S. Passport or a certified copy of your U.S. Birth Certificate. For permanent residents, a valid green card/resident card is required. And for those who are not citizens or permanent residents, verifiable immigration documents as well as proof that you have been granted legal stay in the U.S. for at least 12 months is required.
READ ID is a Federal Security Standard for IDs that was created in 2005 as a result of the heightened security after 9/11. It is not required to have a READ ID until October 2020, and if you have a valid U.S. passport you will never need a REAL ID.
Starting in October 2020 you will need a REAL ID or a valid U.S. passport in order to fly in the U.S. and to enter certain federal buildings. A regular Massachusetts license will not be sufficient to do these things after October 2020.
If you are unsure if you will need a REAL ID, the Massachusetts Government website has a helpful guide here for your use.
In order to obtain any license in Massachusetts, including REAL ID, you will need 3 different types of documents:
- Social Security Document – SSN card, W-2 form, SSA-1099 Form, Non-SSA-1099 Form, or Pay Stub with applicant’s name and SSN
- Lawful Presence/Date of Birth Document – U.S. Passport/Passport Card, Certified copy of U.S. Passport, Certificate of Citizenship, Certificate of Naturalization, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Permanent Resident Card, Employment Authorization Card, Foreign Passport with the U.S. Visa affixed and I-94 Stamp
- Massachusetts Residency Document – MA RMV issued documents such as a renewal letter, 1st Class Mail, MA-issued professional license with photo, Medicaid Statement, Firearms Card, Jury Duty summons, Court Correspondence, Bills such as utility bills, Leases/Mortgages/Rental Contracts dated within 60 days, School-issued documents such as school transcripts.
You can begin the process of obtaining a REAL ID in Mass here in order to make sure that your future travel plans aren’t negatively affected.