In 2025, You'll Need a New Kind of ID to Get on a Plane. Here's How to Get a REAL ID in Mass.

The requirement stems from federal legislation passed by Congress in 2005

After being delayed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, REAL ID-compliant ID cards will be required to board a domestic flight or enter secure federal buildings, such as prisons or military facilities, in 2025 for Massachusetts residents 18 years of age and older.

You will still be able to board a domestic flight with a valid passport or passport card after the change, which is set for May 7, 2025. The deadline had originally been set for May 3, 2023, but the federal government changed that deadline on Monday.



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The requirement stems from federal legislation passed by Congress in 2005 and adopted in Massachusetts in 2016.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the REAL ID Act "establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards and prohibits certain federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards."

REAL IDs are issued in all 50 states and designated by a star and surrounding gold circle that appears in the top right-hand corner of a Massachusetts driver's license or state ID card. In Massachusetts, a REAL ID can be obtained by visiting a Registry of Motor Vehicles Service Center.

What is a standard driver's license?

  • Is a valid driver’s license or identification card
  • Is not valid as a form of federal ID
  • Can be renewed online without going to the RMV
  • Has “NOT FOR FEDERAL ID” displayed on the card

What is a REAL ID driver's license?

  • 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

You can save time at an RMV Service Center by starting any driver's license or ID transaction online

Those wishing to get a REAL ID while renewing their Massachusetts driver's license can do so, but must first fill out an application and provide documents proving their identity, their Social Security number, a written signature and two documents that show proof of residency.

For a complete list of acceptable documents, click here.

A REAL ID card costs the same as a driver’s license ($50).

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