Dealing with new license renewal requirements – request your marriage certificate

Above: Interestingly, all of the examples of new Real IDs on the state’s website show men. But it’s many women who have an extra document requirement worth notice – a marriage certificate with a raised seal.

You may have heard about issues and lines at Mass RMVs under the new requirements for license renewals that were enacted this month. One reader commented in an open thread that many married women have an additional hoop to jump through. In addition to the three forms of ID, proof is needed to explain a name different than the one on your birth certificate.

The new procedures relate to getting the new “Real ID” vs a standard license. (From the state website it appears that drivers can actually still renew licenses online without the special paperwork. But if they do, they won’t receive the version acceptable as Federal ID. And Federal regulations will require some form of Federal ID for plane travel and some other purposes beginning in October 2020.)*

For women concerned about how to get the needed marriage certificate for Real IDs, I’m sharing a helpful comment posted by Southborough Town Clerk, Jim Hegarty:

I’m writing to provide information on how to obtain a certified copy of a marriage certificate for anyone married in Massachusetts. We have noticed an increase in requests for certified copies of marriage certificates due to the new driver’s license requirements and also for enrollment in some health insurance plans.

In Massachusetts, marriage certificates are only maintained in the city or town where someone filed a marriage intention and also at the state Registry of Vital Statistics in Dorchester.

If you filed your marriage intention in Southborough, you can order and pay for it online and we’ll mail it to you the next day. ($10 for the copy and a $1 service fee.)

You are always welcome to come to the Town Clerk’s office and we’ll prepare a certified copy of the marriage certificate while you wait. The fee is $10 for the first copy and $2 for each additional copy.

If you filed your marriage intention in another Massachusetts town, you must either go to that town or you can order your marriage online from the Registry for $50 per copy at this link and they will send it to you in 2 to 3 weeks.

Regardless of where you obtain the certificate, be aware that the Registry will want to see a certified copy of the certificate with the raised seal.

If you have any questions, please call me.

Jim Hegarty
Southborough Town Clerk
(508) 485-0710 x 3007

Real ID vs standard
(click to enlarge)

*The new license requirements are in response to federal regulations that will require “Real ID” for federal identification purposes beginning October 2020. Leading up to the change, the state began issuing real IDs earlier this month.

The new IDs have more extensive proof requirements than the old standard drivers license and require going to the RMV in person.  But, according to the state’s website, some drivers may not have need to go through the “Real ID” process.

If you have a valid passport and are willing to carry it when you need Federal ID (to board planes and enter federal buildings, etc.) you may be able to obtain a standard license online. (Or you could get the standard renewal now and procrastinate obtaining a real ID until closer to the deadline! On the one hand, it’s just putting off the inevitable. On the other hand, you may hope the RMV becomes more efficient in issuing the new IDs down the road.)

You can see more detail by clicking on the thumbnail above right. For more information on Real IDs and license renewals, click here.

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