New license requirements start in October 2020

Massachusetts residents will need to change their identification cards by Oct. 2020 in order to travel in the U.S. by airplane or enter certain U.S. government buildings as part of the Massachusetts REAL ID program, according to a press release. Residents will be able to use their driver’s license for these situations if it is REAL ID compliant, and those licenses will begin to be implemented in March 2018.

This rule is to comply with requirements set by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) was granted a one-year compliance extension in order to implement the federal requirements and ensure that the agency is prepared to begin to issue REAL ID license and identification cards on March 26, 2018. The extension means that Massachusetts residents may use their existing valid license or ID to enter a federal building or for traveling by air through Oct. 1, 2020.

REAL ID is a new type of driver’s license or identification card that the RMV is implementing under federal law for citizens or lawfully-present residents. The REAL ID Act was enacted in 2005 and sets security and identity standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards.

If a Massachusetts resident has and uses a valid U.S. passport or passport card as identification, they will not need a REAL ID.

“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, according to the press release. “We encourage everyone to go online first and save time, and will continue to communicate compliance and implementation updates throughout this process.”

Anyone with questions about REAL ID should visit

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