Getting a Mass. Driver's License or ID: Upcoming Changes

As of March 26, when anyone goes to the RMV to get or renew a driver's license, state ID, or learner's permit they will need more documents than in the past. In a nutshell, they'll have to have documents that:

                1) Prove they live in Massachusetts;

                2) Prove they have a Social Security number, and...

               3) Prove they're legal US residents.

What do these requirements mean in practice? Various kinds of documents are considered proof of Massachusetts residency:  a document issued by any federal, state, town or county instituition, such as first-class mail, state-issued ID, a license to carry a firearm, a jury duty summons, a school transcript, or a tax document; and other documents including bills, rental contracts, pay stubs or bank statements with images of personal checks.

Proof of possession of a Social Security number is anything that shows your name and entire Social Security number (a Social Security card, a 1099 form, a W-2, or a pay stub).

Proof of legal US residency is a bit complicated for many people. If you're a US citizen with a valid, unexpired passport, you're all set. If you're a US citizen without a passport, then you'll need either your birth certificate (if born in the US) or a Report of Birth Abroad issued by a US consulate,  or a certificate of naturalization. If you're not a US citizen, you'll need a green card, an employment authorization card, or a foreign passport with a US Visa and an I-94 form.

These new requirements are part of the rollout of RealID, identification compliant with federal security standards passed in 2005. You can continue to use your current ID or license until October 2020; after that you will need RealID to enter a federal building or board a plane. If you have a valid US passport and don't mind carrying it around with you, you'll never need to get RealID.

For complete information on what RealID is and how to get it, please read this RMV-issued document.

And be prepared for longer waits at the RMV. Maybe take a few library books with you to pass the time.

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