Is your teen ready to start driving? Are you moving to Massachusetts and need to know how to do an out of state license transfer? Fortunately, the multi-step process to get a Massachusetts license is less confusing than it seems at first. Here’s everything you need to know about how to get a driver’s license in Massachusetts or transfer license to MA from out of state.
How to Get a Massachusetts Driver’s License – Steps to Get a New Massachusetts License
Are you a first time driver? Getting a driver’s license in Massachusetts requires several steps starting with a learner’s permit regardless of age. Here’s how to get a driver’s license in MA if you have never been licensed in any state before.
Massachusetts Driver’s License Requirements
- Be at least 16.5 years old
- Proof of lawful presence or citizenship
- Social Security number (proof of SSN for REAL ID)
- Proof of Massachusetts residency (two forms for REAL ID)
- Massachusetts learner’s permit (requires passing a vision screening and online test)
- Passed RMV road test (requires a sponsor and acceptable vehicle)
- Completed RMV-approved driver education and final exam (only for drivers under 18)
Step #1. Apply for a Mass Learner’s Permit & Pass the Exam
All applicants are required to obtain a learner’s permit before applying for a first driver’s license in Massachusetts.
What do you need to get your permit in MA?
- Be at least 16
- Completed MA RMV Learner’s Permit Application (LIC100)
- Proof of citizenship or lawful presence
- Social Security number
- Proof of Massachusetts residency
- Successfully passed online exam
- Passed vision screening
- Learner’s permit MA fee of $30
To get started, click here to start the Massachusetts learner’s permit application online. You will need to bring the completed application and documents above to an RMV Service Center to take the vision screening test.
Massachusetts Learner’s Permit Exam
Next, you must pass the learner’s permit exam. You must answer 18 out of 25 questions correctly. Make sure you study the Massachusetts Driver’s Manual ahead of the test which covers:
- Road sign identification
- Rules of the road
- Alcohol misuse
- JOL violations
Note that the permit exam can be done online or in person. Make an RMV reservation for your exam and bring your completed application and correct documents to avoid long lines! Follow these instructions when you’re ready to take the Massachusetts learner’s permit exam.
You can take the Massachusetts RMV practice test to help you get ready.
Massachusetts Learner’s Permit Rules
With a learner’s permit, MA law allows you to drive a car with limitations:
You must be accompanied by a licensed driver in the passenger seat who is at least 21 with a valid license
If you are under 18, you cannot drive between 12 am and 5 am unless accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian
Step #2. Meet Junior Operator Requirements (if under 18)
If you are at least 16.5 years old and under 18 when applying for a driver’s license, you will need to obtain a Junior Operator License (JOL) with restrictions.
You must meet these requirements to obtain a JOL:
- Must have had a valid learner’s permit for at least 6 months
- Clean driving record for 6 months before taking the road test
- Completed RMV-approved driver education and training program
- Completed an additional 40 hours of supervised driving with a certified statement signed by a parent/guardian
- Parent or guardian must participate in at least 2 hours of instruction of the driver’s education
- Pass a final exam for a digital driver’s education certificate to be filed with the RMV
Once you obtain your license, you will be subject to the following MA Junior Operator License restrictions:
- Cannot drive with anyone under 18 in the vehicle without a licensed driver at least 21 years old in the passenger seat for the first 6 months
- Cannot drive between 12:30 am and 5 am unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
- Certain driving offenses can result in a 1-year suspension along with court and law-imposed penalties
- You cannot use a mobile phone for any reason while driving
Step #3. Pass the RMV Road Test
Once you have a learner’s permit, you must pass the Massachusetts road test. Here’s what you need to know to pass.
Massachusetts Road Test Requirements
To take the RMV road test, you will need the following:
- Your valid learner’s permit
- A completed RMV Road Test Application
- A sponsor who is 21 or older and licensed with at least 1 year of driving experience
- A vehicle in good, working order with valid registration, a current inspection sticker, and a design that allows the examiner to use the parking brake for an emergency stop.
Preparing for the Massachusetts Road Test
The road test will be performed in a state vehicle until May 2, 2022 when applicants must provide their own vehicle. You will be given about five minutes to familiarize yourself with the state vehicle and controls before the test begins.
Arrive at least 15 minutes before your appointment time. Before the test, the examiner will examine your vehicle. The road test will require demonstrating your skills and knowledge to:
- Parallel park
- Use hand signals
- Start and stop the vehicle
- Make left- and right-hand turns
- Back the vehicle about 50 feet
- Three-point turn
- Start, stop, and turn the car on a hill
- Enter and exit intersections
- Recognize and obey street signs
- Yield the right-of-way
- Maintain sufficient distance from other vehicles
- Safely change lanes while signaling
- Use good sense while driving
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Schedule Massachusetts Road Test
Once you’re ready to take the test, you will need to schedule your road test. Class D road tests must be scheduled online through myRMV.
Click here to see all Class D RMV Road Test sites in Massachusetts.
Retaking the Massachusetts RMV Road Test
If you fail the road test, you can retake it but must wait two weeks. You can take up to 6 road tests within a 12-month period.
The $35 road test fee is still charged and must be paid to rebook a new road test if you fail to appear, fail the test, cancel with less than 72 hours’ notice, or are rejected by the examiner.
Step #4. Pay Road Test & Driver’s License Fees
You don’t need to go back to an RMV Service Center to get your driver’s license issued as long as you have paid all fees for your road test and driver’s license application.
You will need to have all fees paid:
- $30 Massachusetts learner’s permit fee
- $35 road test fee
- $50 new license issue fee
You can pay the fees for your MA driver’s license and road test when you schedule your test or after taking the road test. Just make sure all the fees are paid promptly or you will not be issued a driver’s license.
Here’s how to pay your MA RMV road test and license fees:
- In person at an RMV Service Center
- By phone by calling (857) 368-8000 (from 857, 781, 617, and 339 area codes) or (800) 858-3926 (other MA area codes)
- Online by clicking here
Step #5. Receive Your Massachusetts Driver’s License in the Mail
Your new license will be mailed to you within 7 to 10 days of passing your road test and paying all fees. Until then, your learner’s permit will be your temporary driver’s license once the validation section is stamped.
Steps to Transfer License to MA
Have you recently moved to Massachusetts? You must convert your license to a Massachusetts license as soon as you become a MA resident. There is no grace period for doing this after establishing residency.
Here’s how to get a driver’s license in MA by converting your out of state license.
Out of State License Transfer Requirements
To transfer out of state license to MA, you will need to arrive in person at an RMV Service Center with the necessary documentation. The MA drivers license requirements depend on whether you are getting a standard Mass license or a REAL ID driver’s license.
Necessary documents for converting out-of-state license to MA:
- Out of state driver’s license
- You will need to bring your out of state license to surrender to the RMV. If you do not have your old license, you will need acceptable photo ID and a certified copy of your driving record that is not more than 30 days old.
- Proof of lawful presence
- This can be a valid, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card or an original or certified U.S. birth certificate.
- Social Security number
- You only need to give your SSN for a standard MA driver’s license. For a REAL ID, you will need to bring a document with your full SSN such as a W-2 form, SSA-1099 or non-SSA-1099 form, pay stub, or Social Security card.
- Proof of Massachusetts residency
- You need 1 document for a standard Mass driver’s license and two documents for a MA REAL ID license. Documents must show your current residential address and name. Accepted documents include MA RMV-issued documents; government agency-issued documents; utility bills; credit card statements; mortgage documents; lease; bank statements; W-2 statement; current SSA, pension, or retirement statement; or a recent pay stub.
Note that you must provide original documents, not photocopies or laminated papers. You cannot use any one document to prove more than one requirement.
You can learn more about the document requirements for MA driver’s license here.
Step #1. Complete the Mass Driver’s License Application
You can’t do an out of state license transfer in MA online, but you can start the process online.
You will need to complete the MA RMV License and ID Application (Form LIC100). You can bring this form to an RMV Full Service Center with your documents. If you complete the form online, it will be available to RMV agents when you arrive.
Use this online tool to transfer license to MA. The walkthrough will ask questions and provide you with a complete list of documents you will need to have. Select the first option for “license conversion” then select whether you want a standard Massachusetts driver’s license or a REAL ID license. You will need to provide your identity information to receive a list of documents you will need.
Step #2. Make an Appointment at an RMV Service Center
You’ll need to visit an RMV Service Center in person to transfer an out of state license to MA. This requires making an appointment. You can use the myRMV Online Service Center to see available dates and book your appointment online.
Step #3. Bring Required Documents & Application to RMV
The last step is arriving for your appointment with your application, documents, and the fee. The fee is the same for a REAL ID or a standard Mass license. The fee to transfer out of state license to MA is $115 for a 5-year standard Class D driver’s license or Class M motorcycle license.
You’re now done getting a Massachusetts license! The RMV will mail your license to your mailing address within 7 to 10 days.
Step #4. Pass the Eye Test, Written Test & RMV Road Test (if your out-of-state license is expired 12+ months)
You do not need to take the RMV road test or written test to transfer an out of state license to Massachusetts unless your out of state license has been expired for one year or longer. If your license is 12+ months expired, you will need to pass a written test, eye test, and road test.
Registering a Car in Massachusetts from Out of State
After moving to Massachusetts, you must transfer your out of state vehicle registration and title to MA to drive your vehicle legally. There is no grace period: you must do the out of state title transfer and registration as soon as you become a resident.
This process will require providing:
- Completed RMV Registration and Title Application
- Proof of Massachusetts insurance with insurance stamp and signature
- Proof of ownership (certificate of title or registration from previous state if there is a lienholder)
- Registration and title fees
The RMV has a guide covering how to register a car in MA and do a Massachusetts car title transfer. Note you will need to get a vehicle inspection sticker within 7 days of completing Mass RMV registration.
Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) Locations & Appointments
You can view all Massachusetts RMV locations and search by zip code or city. Note that some locations like AAA locations offer limited services.
Most locations allow walk-in transactions, but it’s usually best to schedule an RMV appointment online to avoid long lines.
Important Massachusetts RMV links:
- Make an RMV Reservation Online
- MA RMV Online Service Center (complete over 40 transactions)
- Limited RMV services at AAA locations
- RMV Service Center locations
Massachusetts Driver’s License FAQ
Who issues Massachusetts driver’s licenses?
Massachusetts licenses are issued by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).
How long is your first Massachusetts driver’s license valid for?
The standard Massachusetts license is valid for 5 years. With a Class D (passenger) or Class M (motorcycle) license, you can choose a term under 5 years for $10 per year.
Can you renew your license online in Massachusetts?
You can renew your MA driver’s license online at Mass.Gov/RMV as long as your license is not revoked or suspended and you do not have outstanding parking tickets or EZ-Pass violations.
What age can you get your license in MA?
The Massachusetts driving age is 16-and-a-half years old. You must be at least 16 to get a Mass learner’s permit. Licensed drivers under 18 have restrictions under a Junior Operator License.
How long do I have to transfer my license in MA?
The Massachusetts RMV out of license transfer process must be done as soon as you become a resident of MA.
How much does a driver’s license cost in Massachusetts?
The Massachusetts driver’s license cost is $50 for a 5-year license or $10 per year if you want a shorter term of issue. This is the cost for a standard Class D passenger license. See below for MA driver’s license fees or click here for the full schedule of RMV fees.
|MA Driver’s License Cost|
|Class D License||$50||5 years|
|Motorcycle License||$50||5 years|
|Yearly license fee (if less than 5 years)||$10||1 year|
|Duplicate MA license||$25|
|Out of state license conversion||$115||5 years|
|Learner’s permit application||$30||2 years|
|License application & road test||$35|
Now that you know how to get your Massachusetts license or transfer your license to MA, you’re ready for your big move! If you’re relocating within the Massachusetts or New England area, Mass Bay Movers is ready to help. Give us a call for a free moving estimate from our 5-star team!