REAL ID In Massachusetts: By The Numbers (So Far)

A comparison of a standard license and a REAL ID (Courtesy
A comparison of a standard license and a REAL ID (Courtesy

It's been almost one year since federally compliant REAL IDs became available for Massachusetts residents.

A reminder:

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.

Wait times at the state's Registry of Motor Vehicles spiked after REAL IDs became available in late March 2018. The RMV installed updated software for REAL ID, and getting an ID now requires more documentation than it used to.

Last month — January 2019 — more than 230,000 people went to an RMV branch, according to the Department of Transportation, with 93 percent of them served in 30 minutes or fewer. One percent had to wait more than an hour.

As of Feb. 21, there have been 3.13 million ID cards and licenses issued to Massachusetts residents by the RMV since REAL ID became available.

Less than half of those — 1.52 million — were REAL IDs. The other 1.61 million ID cards and licenses were "standard credentials" like a standard driver's license.

A MassDOT spokeswoman said that roughly 50-50 split is in line with expectations.

Have more questions about REAL ID? Check out our Q&A from back in 2018.


Headshot of Ally Jarmanning

Ally Jarmanning Senior Reporter
Ally is a senior reporter focused on criminal justice and police accountability.



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