Time is running short for Massachusetts residents to obtain a "REAL ID" driver's license before the identification is required to clear airport security checkpoints, board an airplane, and enter some federal buildings.

The deadline to obtain the REAL ID, extended several times due to the COVID pandemic, is May 3, 2023.

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) recommends that all Massachusetts residents switch from the Standard Massachusetts Driver's License to the REAL ID at their next license renewal or sooner if their renewal date is before May 3.

Massachusetts Deadline Looms For Obtaining Real ID
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"REAL ID is a Federal Security Standard for IDs that was created in 2005 as a result of increased security measures after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks," the RMV stated. The ID requirement became law in Massachusetts in 2016.

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Residents may still opt for a Standard Massachusetts Driver's License, a valid driver's license, and an ID card, but the standard license is not accepted as a form of federal ID.

The RMV stated REAL ID licenses have proper markings indicating they are acceptable forms of federal identification.

Massachusetts Deadline Looms For Obtaining Real ID
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A Standard Massachusetts Driver's License is renewable online, whereas a READ ID driver's license must be renewed in person. The initial switch to REAL ID requires identification documentation. Details are posted on the RMV website.

With illegal immigrants now entitled to apply for a Massachusetts driver's license, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition have compiled information on what restrictions apply and what documentation is required.

Massachusetts Deadline Looms For Obtaining Real ID
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The fee for a REAL ID is the same as a Standard Massachusetts Driver's License.

I obtained my REAL ID when my license expired in 2020 at the AAA office in Fairhaven. The entire process took 15 minutes.

In most cases, the documentation required to switch to a REAL ID is not difficult to gather, unless you have to track down a birth certificate or marriage license, which could take time. Plan accordingly.

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