REAL ID and Mass. driver’s licenses: What you need to know

November 22, 2022

This is just a reminder that if you haven't done so already, Massachusetts residents have until May 3, 2023 to upgrade their driver's licenses and IDs for them to be accepted for air travel.

The deadline for the REAL ID full enforcement had been extended to May 3, 2023, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting in May of next year, licenses without REAL IDs will not be permitted for use for domestic air travel, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles said. Other TSA-acceptable identification forms will still be permitted including a government issued passport.

The new ID that meets the federal standard is characterized by a gold star placed on the top right of the license. Massachusetts began to issue upgraded cards in 2018.

The REAL ID law was passed by Congress to improve national security in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and the RMV has been working to upgrade its driver's license software system and design new identification cards to comply with the law.

More information on the REAL ID registration process can be found on the RMV’s website.