The Registry of Motor Vehicles will close its service centers this weekend as the department upgrades its computer systems for the first time in 30 years.
The new system will help the RMV issue its new types of driver’s licenses, called Real ID — part of a federal mandate to increase security in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The RMV will be closed from Thursday, March 22 at 7 p.m. to Monday, March 26 at 8 a.m. The closure will shutter all RMV service centers and halt all online transactions and inspections at vehicle inspection stations over the weekend.
From Friday, March 23, to Monday, March 26, dealerships that usually register and inspect vehicles on behalf of the RMV will not process those services and AAA offices will not offer RMV services as well.
The new RMV computer system, called ATLAS, will revamp the online customer service portal. Once the new system is up, there will also be new required documents and a new card option when it comes to getting or renewing any driver’s license, ID card or learner’s permit.
Beginning Monday, March 26, to get or renew a Massachusetts identification, residents will need these documents: one that shows their social security number, one that proves their lawful presence in the U.S. and their date of birth (i.e. a passport, birth certificate, permanent resident card, employment card, or so on) and documents proving their Massachusetts residency, like a utility bill or bank statement.
Monday also marks the first date you can get a Real ID, though they’re not required until Oct. 2020.
What is a Real ID?
Real ID is a new federal security standard created in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Congress passed the Real ID Act in 2005, which establishes new minimum security standards for boarding commercial flights and accessing federal buildings.
You can still get a standard Massachusetts driver’s license at the RMV or online, but after Oct. 2020, it will not be an acceptable form of federal identification. That means you can’t use your regular license to board a plane or enter federal buildings. You can still use your passport as ID while flying.
Real IDs cannot be processed online, so you’ll have to visit an RMV location with all your required documents to obtain one. Real IDs, which will have a star in the upper right-hand corner, are valid for five years of the length of stay in the U.S. and can be used to board planes after Oct. 2020.
Confused about whether you’ll need a Real ID or just a regular license? You can go to mass.gov/rmv and answer a few questions to help you figure out the best fit and what exact documents you’ll need for either option. You can also visit mass.gov/id to learn more.