ID, Proof of Lawful Presence Changes Begin at RMVs

HYANNIS – As of Monday morning, Cape and Islands residents renewing driver’s licenses or ID cards will see some changes at the Registry of Motor Vehicles or AAA locations.

Customers will be able to choose to receive a REAL ID, which meets federal security standards, or standard state ID cards.

REAL IDs were created in 2005 to increase federal security measures after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

The new IDs were passed into law after the 9/11 Commission Report recommended that all state issued IDs should meet minimum issuance standards for those cards to be recognized as federal forms of Identification.

“If you want to have your driver’s license or your Massachusetts ID card to be acceptable to get you on a plane at [the] airport then you would need to chose the REAL ID credential,” said Erin Deveney, the Massachusetts Registrar of Motor Vehicles.

Standard ID cards will still be able to get passengers on a plane or into a federal building until October 2020. After that, residents would need to have a REAL ID, passport, Military ID or global entry card.

The cost for REAL IDs or standard state IDs is the same.

Anyone who recently renewed their license or has an expiration date after October 2020 would need to purchase a duplicate REAL ID for $25 or use a passport to fly after that date.

“The card you have in your wallet now is still valid and will still be accepted [federally] until October 2020,” Deveney said.

The difference between the two different types of identification cards is that the REAL ID has a federally required white star in a gold circle. The standard ID will say ‘NOT FOR FEDERAL ID.’

Another big change for customers beginning Monday is that they will need to show they are in the country legally to obtain any new or renewed ID.

“They are going to have to prove that they are either a U.S. citizen or that they are here in accordance with federal [and state] immigration laws,” said Deveney.

The proof of lawful presence is required for either REAL or standard identification.

For citizens, a valid, unexpired U.S. passport is sufficient proof of lawful presence. A certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate will also be accepted.

A valid permanent resident card, or green card, is sufficient proof of lawful presence for permanent residents.

Customers who are not U.S. citizens will need to provide valid, verifiable immigration documents as well as proof that you have been granted a legal stay in the U.S. for at least 12 months. A license of ID will expire when a legal stay ends.

RMVs were closed at the end of last week to transfer all its records from one system to another.

“It’s important for our customers to know that even though we were closed on Friday, our staff was still working doing dress rehearsals so that they would be prepared to provide the best service possible today,” Deveney said. “We also had teams of people literally working around the clock on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to make sure that the new system would be up, running, fully functional and ready to service our customers as of this morning.”

Customers who are renewing to get a REAL ID will need to do so in person at a RMV or AAA location so a new picture can be taken. Renewals of standard IDs can be done online.

More information about the changes can be found at


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