Registry: 1.5 Million Massachusetts Residents Have Federally-Compliant REAL ID Credentials

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BOSTON – The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is announcing that more than 1.5 million customers have secured a federally-compliant Massachusetts REAL ID credential from the RMV since the state’s March 2018 implementation date.

While not everyone will need a REAL ID, obtaining one requires an in-person visit to an RMV Service Center or AAA branch for AAA members.

The Registry has seen steady growth in the percentage of customers choosing a REAL ID credential over the past several months and anticipates a continued increase in demand for this type of credential ahead of October 1 when the federal requirements for REAL ID go into effect.

“Over 1.5 million customers have chosen a Massachusetts’ REAL ID credential at RMV Service Centers or at AAA branches since we began offering this option in 2018,” said Acting Registrar of Motor Vehicles Jamey Tesler.  “While not everyone will require a REAL ID, and can use a valid passport or other acceptable form of identification for boarding domestic flights or entering federal buildings, we expect customer volumes and demand to increase ahead of the federal requirements taking effect in October.”

The Registry encourages customers to visit Mass.Gov/ID prior to visiting a Service Center or AAA branch in-person to determine if a federally-compliant REAL ID is right for them, begin the application process online, and determine which documents they will need for the Registry to process a transaction successfully.

Customers can either print their online application or obtain and display an application bar code that will retrieve the customer’s information and expedite their transaction at the service counter. 

To receive a federally-compliant REAL ID credential, customers need proper documentation as proof of lawful presence, including the following:

For U.S. citizens, a valid, unexpired U.S. passport or a certified copy of their U.S. birth certificate is required to prove lawful presence.

For permanent residents, a valid permanent resident card, (Green Card), serves as proof of lawful presence.

For customers who are not U.S. citizens, valid, verifiable immigration documentation as well as proof of a legal stay in the U.S. for at least 12 months is required. Expiration dates match the length of the stay in the U.S.

Customers who do not need a REAL ID, and are renewing their standard, non-REAL ID compliant credential may be able to do so successfully online, without visiting a Service Center or AAA branch in-person.

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. 

The Registry urges customers to visit Mass.Gov/ID soon to learn more, as volumes may increase as the October 1, 2020 REAL ID deadline gets closer.


Photos courtesy of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts


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