Beginning October 1, 2021, REAL IDs are required to all board flights (including domestic flights) and/or to enter government buildings. The law was initially set to begin October of 2020, but due to COVID, it was extended for a year. If your license is up for renewal this year, you should consider a REAL ID versus a standard driver’s license.
What Is a REAL ID?
Think of REAL IDs as an enhanced form of identification. Unlike a standard driver’s license that you can renew online with certain basic forms, a REAL ID requires more identification checks and in-person application. Here’s a helpful comparison from the MA RMV website:
Documentation Required for REAL IDs
It is important to review the acceptable forms of documentation before applying for a REAL ID. You must provide:
- Proof of Lawful Residence
- Proof of Social Security Number
- Proof of Name Change (i.e., if your current name doesn’t match your social security card or other documentation)
- Proof of Massachusetts Residency
Review the Identification Documents Checklist provided by the MA RMV. Be sure to bring original documents; photocopies will not be accepted.
REAL ID versus Passport
Do you need a REAL ID if you have a passport? The technical answer is, no. Your passport is acceptable for both domestic flights and entering federal buildings. However, as you know, a passport is much larger and more difficult to carry. By upgrading your license to a REAL ID, you have the convenience of an ID that easily fits inside wallet and you carry daily.
Massachusetts REAL ID Cost and Application
A REAL ID will cost you an extra $25, but this charge is currently being waived due to the COVID crisis. Take advantage of this savings and upgrade today. If your license is not up for renewal this year, you can still upgrade. Simply provide the additional required documentation and pay the upgrade fee. Before heading over to an RMV service center, be sure to check their website. Most are not accepting walk-ins at this time, so you must schedule an appointment. Also, to save time and minimize exposure, download and bring a completed application with you.