Tech Council City Advocates Csny Discuss Idnyc

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A comparison of a standard license and a REAL ID (Courtesy Mass.gov)

Renewing a Massachusetts driver's license will become a more paper-intensive process starting next week for anyone who wants to use the ID for domestic air travel years into the future.

Starting Oct. 1, 2020, regular Massachusetts driver's licenses will no longer suffice for people trying to fly domestically, enter federal buildings or access nuclear facilities. Only licenses compliant with REAL ID will grant people access to those flights and facilities.

As the Registry of Motor Vehicles gears up to comply with the federal REAL ID law, top transportation officials want to make it clear to the 5.3 million people with state-issued IDs that they will need to bring much more documentation than normal to gain the full benefits of an identification card.

"Getting your license for the first time has been a bigger deal and renewing your license has been much less onerous. We're sort of resetting everyone to: We're not sure who you are," Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack explained to reporters on Monday.

While the state will continue offering standard IDs, starting next Monday, March 26, it plans to issue cards that comply with the REAL ID law, which will grant people that additional federally controlled access beyond October 2020.

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