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Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles Unveils New Driver's License With 'Real ID' Security Features

Jul 30, 2016 06:57PM ● By Bill Gilman
(Editor's note: the following information was released by the Department of Motor Vehicles.)

BOSTON, MA -- Earlier this week, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) unveiled a new Driver’s License and Mass ID design to be phased in over 5 years at no additional cost to customers.

 Last updated in 2010, the designs include new security features better protecting the identity of customers and making Massachusetts one of the states with the most secure and technologically advanced cards in the country. Licenses will be phased in and will not require any immediate action by Massachusetts residents until a resident’s current license expires.

The new Massachusetts licenses and IDs include some federally-required REAL ID features such as a second bar code on the reverse side which contains the demographic information printed on the front. The RMV is still in the process of programming additional information the federal government has authorized for REAL ID cards which Americans will need in October 2020 if they want to board a plane or enter a federal government building. REAL ID cards will include such information as an individual's full legal name and, if pertinent, the individual's legal presence information with the expiration date.

Massachusetts residents need to take no action now to get a new driver's license unless the license has expired. State residents do not need to seek a REAL ID card now and will only need a card with REAL ID information in October 2020 if they want to board a plane or visit a federal building. Massachusetts driver's licenses will have all REAL ID required information imbedded in them in time for residents to use if needed in October 2020.

Current driver’s licenses, Massachusetts ID's, commercial driver’s licenses, and junior operator and under 21 licenses will remain valid until they are scheduled for renewal. Over the next year, the RMV expects that 1.5 million customers will be issued new cards in the normal course of business. The RMV will continue to update customers throughout its REAL ID compliance efforts and anticipates that fully REAL ID compliant cards will begin to be issued in the fall of 2017. Customers are encouraged to check for updates on Twitter, (@MassRMV), and online:

"In an effort to continue to modernize our services and maintain the integrity of the Commonwealth’s most important identification documents, the Registry of Motor Vehicles designed a card with a new advanced look which offers residents the best protection possible," said Registrar Erin Deveney. “The new cards also are REAL ID compatible, meaning that when the federal government authorizes states to be fully REAL ID compliant, these cards will be able to accommodate those features.”

Highlighting the history of Massachusetts, the new card design includes images of the State House Golden Dome, the Civil War memorial to the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, and the state’s official bird, (the chickadee), and official flower, (the Mayflower).

The advanced security features on the new cards will assist law enforcement, banks, retail outlets, and liquor establishments which use these important identification credentials. New security features include raised lettering of the cardholder’s initials and year of birth and the use of laser perforation and engraving. Other security features will remain confidential so as to not alert anyone who may be intent on fraudulent use.

RMV is not introducing the new card formats because of issues or concerns with our current cards. The RMV introduces new card formats each time there is a new driver's license contract. The timing allows the Commonwealth to introduce new security features to stay ahead of criminal enterprises which produce fake Massachusetts licenses and ID cards.

As one step in the RMV standard card roll-out procedures, the RMV has obtained the approval of the Massachusetts State Police and Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association on the format and design to ensure that law enforcement will be able to use these cards in the course of their duties.

MorphoTrust USA, a Billerica-based company, is manufacturing the new cards at a secure facility.

Customers scheduled for license or ID renewal can complete their transactions online, at participating AAA locations, or at a RMV service location. For eligible customers, renewing online is the easiest and fastest way to complete a license renewal or to complete over 23 other RMV-offered online transactions. Please visit for more information.

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