Just a few months back, I happened to make the move to Massachusetts, albeit just one month before my driver's license was set to expire. As I would have needed a new license regardless, it was also a good reminder that there is a difference in a standard driver's license and a REAL ID driver's license. It was also a good reminder of when the deadline to obtain a REAL ID driver's license is.

What is a REAL ID Driver's License?

Back in 2005, measures were taken to implement the concept of the REAL ID as a response to security initiatives that were acted upon due to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. Since then, the United States Department of Homeland Security has pushed back the deadline for a REAL ID driver's license to be a requirement, with the latest being due to the pandemic.

The new REAL ID driver's license is a form of federal identification. When you obtain a REAL ID, the document will have a displayed star, which proves that it is federally compliant. This, according to MassLive.

@WWLPNews22 via Twitter
@WWLPNews22 via Twitter

When is the deadline to have a REAL ID?

The deadline to acquire a REAL ID, which has previously been pushed back, is set at May 3, 2023. Essentially, you have a full six months. After that date, those with a STANDARD driver's license, which is not a REAL ID, will not be able to fly domestically or enter various federal buildings. From May 3rd on, going forward, for those traveling via domestic flights, or entering federal buildings, a REAL ID driver's license or identification card is required.


How can I get a REAL ID driver's license?

Massachusetts residents can obtain a REAL ID driver's license from the Registry of Motor Vehicle (RMV). Please make sure you have the proper documentation requirements when you go there or else you may be jumping through a few hoops before you're allowed to get a REAL ID driver's license. Required documents include: U.S. Passport or U.S. Birth Certificate (original or certified), proof of Social Security number, and proof of Massachusetts residency. There are variations of each that are acceptable and they can be found at the link provided here.

So, now you know you have roughly about six months to acquire that REAL ID driver's license. At least you have plenty of time to prepare!

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