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You can now use your Mass. license photo for 14 years

With a photo that is valid for a longer period of time, you can renew your license online more often, rather than at the RMV.
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You may not have to wait here at the RMV in the Watertown Mall, thanks to the new changes with license photos. Photo: Getty Images

If you hate going to the RMV, here’s some good news: Massachusetts license photos can now be used for more than a decade, meaning you can renew your license online instead of in-person more often. 

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) announced this week that license photos can now be used for 14 years, an increase from the previously-allotted nine-year limit.

Customers are also eligible to now renew their licenses or ID cards online for two renewal periods in a row. You will still need to visit an RMV location in person to renew your license or ID card every third renewal, period, which is only once every 15 years.

That change will result in about 30,000 more renewals processed online each month, rather than in-person visits.

These changes are part of an effort on the RMV’s behalf to reduce visits to registry locations. That way, officials say, customers who do need to physically be at the RMV for other reasons will have a more efficient experience.

“The Registry is pleased to offer these helpful enhancements to service options that are currently available to our customers,” said Registrar of Motor Vehicles Erin Deveney in a statement.  “We encourage customers to conveniently renew their driver’s license or MA ID card online if they are eligible to do so, saving a trip to a service center and perhaps avoiding holiday traffic too.”

In order to renew your license online, your card’s photo must be less than 14 years old and have been taken after your 21st birthday. To check your status and renew online, head to mass.gov/how-to/renew-your-drivers-license

Other changes are coming to Massachusetts licenses for every resident, though. Beginning March 26, 2018, the RMV is changing how customers get and renew their licenses and ID cards in order to issue cards that are REAL ID compliant.

The REAL ID Act is a federal mandate, approved by Congress in 2005 as a response to the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, to ensure additional security for identification cards. Massachusetts residents won’t need a REAL ID until Oct. 2020 and even then, only if they use their license while flying. Passports can still be used in lieu of a REAL ID for travel. 

 
 
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