The Massachusetts REAL ID website now says that residents have until May 7, 2025, to get a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or ID card. Without it they will not be able to board planes in the U.S. without carrying a valid U.S. passport or passport card - just to fly around in the U.S.
That effectively means that the simplest solution for most MA residents is to check their driver's license and see if they already have a REAL ID card.
Here is how you can tell:
The star in the upper right-hand corner (actually a gold circle with a white star in the middle) of the license indicates that the driver has submitted documents in person at the MA DMV offices.
I discussed the documents that are needed in an earlier article on Nov. 14, 2022, "Massachusetts Residents Have Until May 3, 2023, to Get a REAL ID Driver's License to Board a Plane Then."
Now the deadline has been moved to May 7, 2025, which is 24 months later. This was done by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Dec. 5, 2022.
Why The DHS Extended the REAL ID Deadline
The DHS said that states needed more time to sign people up on the requirements of the REAL ID Act of 2005. But by 2025, that will be 20 years since the law was enacted before it has gone into effect.
One of the documents required to get a REAL ID is proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate, a valid US passport, or a foreign passport with a valid unexpired visa allowing a stay in the U.S. That basically excludes people who have outstayed their visas and/or have come into the U.S. illegally. That was specifically the goal of the REAL Act of 2005 legislation which was prompted by the 911 Commission.
Some have speculated that there are policy-related reasons why the DHS may have extended the deadline. Allowing undocumented migrants to use papers received when they entered the U.S., more of them can travel around the U.S. than otherwise would be the case.
This was discussed in an earlier NewsBreak article on Texas immigration and the REAL ID requirements for migrants to get past the TSA at airports. That may be a goal of the Biden Administration given their policy goals related to immigration.
The bottom line is now everyone in Massachusetts has two more years to get the REAL ID driver's license or ID card.
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Mark R. Hake, CFA, writes articles on national and local news, stocks, and market events at InvestorPlace.com, Barchart.com, Medium.com, and Newsbreak.com as well as TalkMarkets.
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