Thursday, August 13, 2020
Massachusetts RMV Extends Promotional Opportunity for Future Free REAL ID Upgrades
Customers who renew for standard license or ID online at Mass.Gov/RMV will have $25 REAL ID upgrade fee waived upon future return visit to a Service Center Over 70,500 driver’s licenses and IDs renewed online since the promotion began;
limited in-person license renewal appointments now available Adjustment of 6 Hour Junior Operator Supervised Driving Observation Requirement and 7-Day Vehicle Registration Transfers also Extended
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is extending the timeframe for which eligible customers can renew their Massachusetts driver’s license or Massachusetts ID card online at Mass.Gov/RMV in order to qualify for a free upgrade to a REAL ID credential in 2021. This promotional opportunity, authorized and now extended by Executive Order, will remain in effect until Massachusetts’ State of Emergency is lifted to provide customers more time and flexibility to conduct transactions and to support the RMV’s ongoing efforts to implement social distancing protocols while limiting in-person service center visits to keep customers and staff safe.
Customers are eligible to renew online and take advantage of this offer up to one year in advance of the expiration date printed on their license or ID, or up to two years after the expiration date. Customers will not be able to seek their free REAL ID upgrade until at least six (6) months after
the State of Emergency is lifted.
“Customers have shown a great deal of interest in this REAL ID initiative, and we are pleased to further extend the promotional timeframe which will allow even more individuals additional time to renew their license or ID online now and upgrade later to REAL ID at no cost if they need one,” said RMV Registrar Jamey Tesler. “While limited in-person license renewal appointments are now available, we ask that all our customers please continue to take advantage of the expiration extensions and online renewals so that appointments can be preserved for those without any other alternative. The RMV is continuing to provide customers with resources and tools that can be used to stay safe and save time without having to visit a service center during
The RMV has seen a dramatic increase of close to 300% in online renewals by customers during the pandemic and this promotional opportunity period. More than 70,500 online renewals were completed between the promotion’s June 12th start date and July 31st, compared to just 25,000 over the same time period in 2019. In July 2020 alone, there were almost 48,000 online credential renewals, compared to just 16,100 in July 2019. The RMV has bolstered back office support efforts to accommodate this increased demand.
Beginning in mid-August, limited in-person license renewal appointments became available in Service Centers for customers. The RMV suspended those in-person transactions due to the pandemic and applied multiple extensions to expiring licenses and IDs as outlined below. The RMV asks that those who can renew online please do so and preserve these limited appointments for those individuals with credentials expiring in September 2020 who cannot, especially if their license or ID currently benefits from an extension.
Qualifying customers who complete their renewal online and wish to upgrade to a REAL ID for free will have to wait until at least six (6) months after Massachusetts’ State of Emergency is lifted to visit an RMV Service Center. Customers currently do not need a federally compliant REAL ID for the purposes of boarding domestic flights prior to October 1, 2021, as the federal government delayed the compliance effective date by one year. The fee for renewing a noncommercial standard or REAL ID license is $50, while the fee for upgrading to a standard or REAL ID card is $25. The typical $25 upgrade / amendment fee will be waived under these qualifying circumstances.
Obtaining an initial federally compliant REAL ID requires customers to visit a Service Center in person to present verifying documents. The RMV has introduced this initiative and fee waiver pursuant to the recently extended Executive Order 39 issued by Governor Baker on June 12, 2020, and in light of the COVID-19 public health emergency to encourage social distancing and limit unnecessary travel by reducing the need for many customers to visit a Service Center This also allows for the prioritization of essential in-person transactions, which remain by appointment only.
Customers should take the following steps to determine their online renewal eligibility and qualify for this offer:
• Visit Mass.Gov/RMV, login to their “myRMV” account, and find out if they are permitted to renew online.
• Renew online – their new standard license or ID card will be sent via U.S. mail.
• The cost for renewing a driver’s license is $50. The cost for renewing an ID card is $25.These costs are the same for both a standard or REAL ID license or ID card. The cost for
upgrading or amending a license or ID card outside of their renewal cycle is $25, which will be waived for participating, eligible RMV customers.
• Customers who renew online will have to wait until at least six (6) months after Massachusetts’ State of Emergency is lifted to make an appointment for a REAL ID and
have their $25 upgrade / amendment fee waived. Anyone who holds a valid U.S. passport or other federally compliant form of identification may never need an RMV-issued
• As a service to its members, AAA continues to issue REAL ID credentials for their members only and members should make an appointment before visiting a AAA location.
• Limited in-person license renewal reservation appointments are now available in RMV Service Centers for customers. The RMV asks that those who can renew online please do
so, especially if their license or ID currently benefits from an extension, thus preserving these appointments for those individuals with credentials expiring in September 2020
who cannot renew online.
While the RMV has previously announced the below automatic extensions to certain expiring licenses and ID cards, all eligible customers are encouraged to take advantage of this offer by renewing online up to one year prior to their expiration date:
• Driver’s licenses and ID cards that expired or were set to expire in March, April, and May 2020 have been extended until September 2020.
• Driver’s licenses and ID cards that expired or were set to expire in June have been extended until October 2020.
• Driver’s licenses and ID cards that expired or were set to expire in July have been extended until November 2020.
• Driver’s licenses and ID cards that will expire in August have been extended until December 2020.
The following provisions of Governor Baker’s Executive Order 39 relative to RMV operations have also been extended until Massachusetts’ State of Emergency is lifted:
• Extends the ‘grace period’ requirement for vehicle registration transfers after a vehicle purchase from 7 days to 21 days.
• Extends the ability for junior operators with a learner’s permit to complete an additional 6 hours of supervised driving hours with a parent, guardian or other adult over 21 with a valid license for over a year, for a total of 46 hours of supervised driving, in lieu of the 6-hour requirement for observing another student driver. This minimizes the need to spend additional time in a vehicle with individuals from different households, which is discouraged under current public health and reopening guidelines for driving schools.
All RMV customers are encouraged to visit the RMV Online Service Center or www.Mass.Gov/RMV to renew their license or ID card, and complete one of over 40 other transactions available online, by mail, or by phone.
For details on these and other credential expiration date extensions and additional information on RMV service offerings during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.mass.gov/rmv or https://www.mass.gov/info-details/rmv-covid-19-information.
Posted by Bruce Tarr at 11:32 AM