Real ID

Mass. RMV Said Woman's Real Name Couldn't Be on Her REAL ID

When Elizabeth Bigelow George tried to renew her license at the RMV, everything went smoothly until there was a mix-up with her middle name

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Come Oct. 1, you're going to need a REAL ID or a passport when flying within the United States, even to get inside some federal buildings.

A REAL ID is a new version of your driver's license or state identification that meets increased security standards. The change is because of a federal law passed after the 9/11 attacks.

When Elizabeth Bigelow George of Cape Cod tried to renew her license at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles and get her REAL ID last November, things didn't go as planned.

She gathered up a bunch of personal documents, including her social security card, birth certificate from the town of Falmouth, and a certified copy of her marriage license. She also needed proof of presence.

"I needed some documentation that I lived at the address that I said I lived," explained George. "I took a bank statement and my Eversource bill, and I had one or two other things, so I had all of the documentation that I needed."

Everything went smoothly until there was a mix-up with her middle name.

"He started putting in everything, and that's when he said that he was going to put my name in as Elizabeth Claire because my birth certificate reads Elizabeth Claire Bigelow," explained George.

She said she asked the RMV to keep the B or Bigelow, and was told no because Homeland Security said it has to match your birth certificate. George had used the name Elizabeth Bigelow George since she got married, 52 years ago.

"Everything in my life — my checking account, all my banking, my Fidelity, my medical records at the hospital, my doctor's office — everything has got Elizabeth B or Elizabeth Bigelow," George said.

She said she called the Department of Transportation and the RMV to try to get the problem fixed.

"I called them and left a message. They never called me back," George said. "I explained when I called that my name had been changed, and I was very concerned about it, and that's when I probably said in frustration: I know who I’m going to call, I'm going to call NBC10 Boston's Leslie Gaydos and let her figure this out."

NBC10 Boston Responds contacted the RMV and asked them to take a look at George's request for help.

In a statement they said: "The RMV will be updating the customer's record to replace 'Claire' with "Bigelow" and issue a new license credential. The RMV will be providing information to team members on how to handle these types of legal name exception cases in the future via new training materials and website clarifications."

About 10 days later, George got her newly corrected REAL ID. She said she's "over the moon" happy.

As a reminder, you can choose from a number of documents to provide proof of your social security number, proof of Massachusetts residency and proof of date of birth when you get a REAL ID.

If you have to obtain a birth or marriage certificate from a courthouse, it may take some time. Don't wait until the last minute to get your documents in order.

If you have a consumer complaint, reach out to NBC10 Boston Responds at 1-888-521 NEWS or click here.

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