Massachusetts expects to begin issuing driver’s licenses compliant with the federal Real ID law in the fall of 2017, after Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday signed legislation that will move the state into line with the federal identification standards.
“The security standards and proper federal documentation requirements set out in this bill are imperative as the registry begins the gradual process of implementation so credential holders may continue to board domestic flights and enter federal buildings in the coming years,” Governor Baker said in a statement.
The Real ID Act, a post-2001 antiterrorism initiative, requires states to begin issuing secure and compliant forms of identification, according to the State House News Service. People whose licenses do not comply with the law would not be able to use them as identification to enter federal buildings or to board airplanes. The legislation Governor Baker signed Tuesday was added by the legislature to the fiscal 2017 budget, and later amended by the governor to specify that Massachusetts licenses can only be obtained by people who are lawfully present in the country. It creates a two-tiered system, allowing applicants to obtain either a Real ID–compliant license or a Massachusetts-only license that would require less documentation and could not be used for accessing federal buildings or air travel.