Registry of Motor Vehicles


The information below is intended to provide basic information regarding driving legally in Massachusetts. Contact the Registry of Motor Vehicles directly with any questions you may have regarding driver’s licenses, application procedures, car registrations, appointments, etc.

Using a Foreign License in Massachusetts

The RMV in Massachusetts recognizes all foreign driver’s licenses if certain conditions are met:

  • Must be at least 16 years of age.
  • Must be in possession of a valid driver’s license when operating a motor vehicle in Massachusetts.
  • May operate a motor vehicle in Massachusetts of the same type in which licensed to operate in any other state or country.
  • If the foreign license is not in English or does not have an English translation, it must have one of the following:
  • Must not be suspended or revoked.

How to Obtain a Massachusetts Driver’s License

You have the option of getting a Standard Driver’s License or a REAL ID* Driver’s License. A Standard ID should not require your immigration documents per the Work and Family Mobility Act.

Starting July 2023, the Work and Family Mobility Act allows eligible Massachusetts residents the option of getting a Standard ID regardless of immigration status.

Applicants over age 18 are eligible to apply for a driver’s license at any RMV office. Please review the RMV’s website for current hours and locations. We suggest starting the process online to choose your location and appointment time.

Standard ID Application Process:

  1. Start the process online here and print out the QR code to take to the RMV with your documents.
  2. View the required documents here (they cannot be laminated) for a Standard License. 
    • Proof of Identity and Birthdate (foreign passport is most common)
    • Proof of Social Security Status: (choose one option)
      1. Provide a Social Security number (SSN)
      2. Complete an Affidavit of No SSN at the RMV. This option can only be completed at the RMV. 
      3. Present a denial letter from the Social Security Administration. This will require an extra trip to the Social Security Administration. Option #2 is recommended if you do not have an SSN.
        1. DENIAL NOTICE: For people not eligible for a Social Security Number, you must still APPLY for a Social Security Number and ask for a denial notice from Social Security Administration. The denial notice must be submitted to the Registry instead of the Social Security Number and be dated within 30 days of submission.
    • Proof of MA Residency: lease agreements, bank statements, utility bill, etc. Students who live on-campus may request a letter from Residential Life.
  3. Follow all the steps here to finalize the MA Standard Driver’s License Process.
  4. Once the RMV has approved your license, you will get a temporary document to drive and will receive your driver’s license in the mail within a few weeks.

*If you choose the REAL ID option, your documentation requirements will be different. The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) will soon require all air travelers to have a government issued REAL ID to fly within the U.S. If you do not have a REAL ID once required, you will need to use your passport to fly on planes, enter federal buildings, etc.

Purchasing a Car

Purchasing a car can be an expensive process. Please keep the costs below in mind if you plan to buy a car.

Must pay:

  • Cost of car plus sales tax
  • Fee for Car Registration, Title, and Car Inspection (annual cost)
  • Excise Tax (an annual tax based on the value of your car)
  • Car Insurance (mandatory in Massachusetts and quite expensive)