Massachusetts REAL ID

Massachusetts REAL ID

After October 1, 2020, you will need a Massachusetts REAL ID or a passport to fly within the United States or enter federal buildings.

A MASSACHUSETTS REAL ID:

  • Is a valid driver’s license or identification card
  • Is valid as a form of federal ID
  • Requires an in-person visit
  • Has a star displayed on the document to indicate that is a federally compliant card

Once you’ve decided if you want a MA REAL ID, get the right documents together. You’ll need to prove your:

  • U.S. citizenship or lawful presence
  • Social Security number
  • Massachusetts residency

All documents must be originals, photocopies and laminated documents will not be accepted.

A document cannot be used to prove more than one requirement.

U.S. Citizenship or Lawful presence documents

1 document from this group for either REAL ID or a Standard driver’s license/ID.

Lawful presence means that you’re legally living in the United States according to federal immigration laws. All U.S. citizens and lawfully permanent residents have permanent lawful presence in the U.S.

Non-U.S. citizens who are studying, working, or living temporarily in the U.S. may have temporary lawful presence that may vary in length.

For U.S. citizens, a valid, unexpired U.S. passport is sufficient proof of lawful presence. U.S. citizens may also provide a certified copy of their U.S. birth certificate.

For permanent residents, a valid permanent resident card (green card) is enough.

For non-U.S. citizens, you need to provide valid, verifiable immigration documents as well as proof that you’ve been granted a legal stay in the U.S. for at least 12 months. Your license or ID will expire when your legal stay is over.

Whether you’re getting a Massachusetts REAL ID or a Standard driver’s license/ID, you’ll need one of these:

  • Valid, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card
    • If your U.S. passport was issued within the last six months, bring your certified copy of your U.S. birth certificate
  • Certified copy of a birth certificate filed with a State Office of Vital Statistics or equivalent agency in the individual’s state of birth
    • A Puerto Rican birth certificate will only be accepted if it was issued on or after July 1, 2010. For more information on the Puerto Rican birth certificate law, visit the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration website. 
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) issued by the U.S. Department of State, Form FS-240, DS-1350, or FS-545
  • Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) issued by DHS or INS
  • Temporary I-551 stamp in foreign passport
  • Unexpired employment authorization document (EAD) issued by DHS, Form I-766, or Form I-688B
  • Unexpired foreign passport with a valid, unexpired U.S. visa affixed
    • A non-US passport must contain a current visa and be presented with an I-94 Record of Arrival and Departure, unless you have a Permanent Resident Card or other change in status. The I-94 can be either a paper version from U.S. Customs and Border Protection or a printout of an electronic version downloaded from their website.
    • For applicable customers who have a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20) or Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (DS-2019) documentation verifying the applicant’s most recent admittance into the United States must be shown
  • Certificate of Citizenship, Form N-560, or Form N-561, issued by DHS
  • Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570)
  • Re-Entry Permit (I-327) – accepted for Standard credential only
  • Refugee Travel Document (I-571) – accepted for Standard credential only

Note: The federal government allows for some exceptions to those in temporary protected status (TPS). See Department of Homeland Security’s website for current countries designated for TPS.

Social Security Number (SSN) documents

1 document from this group for either REAL ID or a Standard driver’s license/ID.

You must have a valid Social Security Number (SSN) to apply for any learner’s permit, driver’s license, or ID card. The RMV will validate the SSN you provide against computer records at the Social Security Administration (SSA). If you do not have an SSN, you may request an application for one by calling (800) 772-1213.

If you’re getting a Standard driver’s license/ID, you’ll only need to provide your valid SSN.

If you’re getting a REAL ID, you’ll need to bring 1 of the following documents displaying your 9-digit SSN:

  • SSN Card (cannot be laminated)
  • W-2 Form*
  • SSA-1099 Form
  • Non-SSA-1099 Form
  • A pay stub with the applicant’s name and full SSN on it*
  • SSN Denial Notice with passport, visa, and I-94

*One (W-2/paystub) cannot be used for both the Massachusetts residency and SSN requirements.  Two different (W-2s/paystubs) from different employers can be used for both requirements.

If you do not have an SSN, you should apply for one at a Social Security office as soon as possible. If you are denied an SSN, you may still qualify for a Massachusetts driver’s license or ID card if you can meet other identification requirements. However, to prove that you applied for an SSN, you must present the written denial notice the SSA provided you. The RMV requires your SSN or denial notice to confirm your identity and to maintain your license and driving records.

Note: All CDL applicants must have an SSN.

Massachusetts residency documents

1 or 2 1 for a Standard driver’s license/ID, 2 for a REAL ID

To prove Massachusetts residency, you’ll need a document showing your current residential address. A P.O. Box isn’t acceptable. Neither is a document mailed “in care of.”

You’ll need 2 of these documents for a REAL ID. Standard driver’s license/ID applicants need 1 of the following:

  • Massachusetts RMV-issued documents (can use one from the options below)
    • Current license, Massachusetts ID card, or learner’s permit (liquor ID not accepted)
    • RMV-issued correspondence dated within 60 days and received via U.S. mail (including license/registration reminders)
  • State/federal/municipal/city/town/county agency-issued documents
    • 1st class, government-issued mail dated within 60 days
    • Current MA-issued professional license with photograph
    • Medicaid statement dated within 60 days
    • Current firearms card
    • Jury duty summons dated within 60 days
    • Court correspondence dated within 60 days
    • Property tax for current year
    • Excise tax for current year
  • Bills
    • Utility bill (electric, telephone, water, sewer, cable, satellite, heating) dated within 60 days
    • Credit card statement dated within 60 days
    • Medical/hospital statement dated within 60 days
    • Cell phone bill dated within 60 days
  • Lease or Mortgage
    • Current lease/mortgage or similar rental contract
  • Financial-related documents
    • Bank statement that contains images of cancelled personal checks dated within 60 days
    • W-2 wage and tax statement from immediate prior year*
    • Current pension statement (401k, 457, SEP, etc.)
    • Current retirement statement
    • Pay stub dated within 60 days*
    • Current SSA statement
    • Current installment loan contract (car loan)
  • School-issued documents
    • Official school transcript for current year
    • Official letter from school (proof of enrollment) dated within 60 days
    • Tuition bill for current year
    • Certified school record for current year
  • Insurance-related documents
    • Auto insurance policy for current year
    • Renter’s insurance policy for current year
    • Homeowner’s insurance policy for current year
  • Alternative Residency Affidavit
    • For applicants under 18 only

*One (W-2/paystub) cannot be used for both the Massachusetts residency and SSN requirements.  Two different (W-2s/paystubs) from different employers can be used for both requirements.

NAME MUST MATCH for REAL ID

If your current name doesn’t match the one that appears on your lawful presence document(s), you must prove your legal name change in order to qualify for a REAL ID driver’s license/ID card. If multiple name changes, documentation for each name change must be provided. You will need to provide one of the following:

  • Marriage Certificate (must be issued from the municipality)
  • Divorce Decree
  • Court Document

Formulated in the wake of September 11 and passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act was passed to “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”

The act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards, and it prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards for official purposes.

It was aimed at eliminating airline terrorism by increasing requirements to obtain documents granting access to domestic planes.

You can start your Massachusetts REAL ID application online by clicking HERE.

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