Getting a Massachusetts Driver’s License

Massachusetts residents and recent transplants to the Bay State need a Class D driver’s license to legally operate a motor vehicle in Massachusetts.

In order to legally drive a passenger car or truck in Massachusetts, residents need a valid Class D driver’s license. Typically, this entails either applying for a new license or converting an out-of-state license. The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) issues all driver’s licenses in the Commonwealth and has offices throughout the state.

Getting a Learner's Permit

A Massachusetts learner’s permit allows residents to legally drive with some restrictions. It is a prerequisite for taking the road test and getting a driver’s license, and requires passing a learner's permit exam offered at any full-service RMV branch. The exam can be taken electronically at a kiosk, on paper, or orally.

Residents must be at least 16 years old and have proof of Massachusetts residency. Prior to taking the exam, they should:

Newcomers to Massachusetts can convert an out-of-state learner’s permit. They are not required to take a learner’s permit exam, but they are required to pay a fee.

Learning to Drive

With a Massachusetts Learner’s Permit, residents can legally drive with a “qualified sponsor” who must be at least 21-years-old, have a valid driver’s license from any state, and have at least one year of driving experience. Sponsors coach new drivers and must sit in the passenger seat.

Permit holders under 18 years of age are classified as a Junior Operators. These drivers cannot operate a car between midnight and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Junior Operators must also meet additional criteria before becoming eligible to take a road test, including:

Taking the Road Test

Massachusetts Learner’s Permit holders may schedule their road test online or by phone. Additionally, they may prepay road test and license issuance fees at that time. Doing so enables a license to be issued upon the successful completion of a road test without returning to the RMV branch office.  The fee for each road test is $35 and the license issuance fee is $50.

On the day of the road test, they should bring:

  • A completed Massachusetts driver’s license application (minors need a parent or guardian’s signature on the application)
  • A valid learner’s permit
  • A qualified sponsor
  • A properly equipped, legally registered vehicle to use for the road test (the vehicle must have enough seating so the examiner can sit in the passenger and the qualified sponsor in the back)

Details about what to expect during the road test can be found in the Massachusetts Driver’s Manual. Those who pass the road test and pay the $50 license fee will have their learner's permit stamped. At this point, it will serve as a temporary license — valid for up to 30 days — until their permanent Class D driver’s license arrives in the mail.

Converting an Out-of-State License

Anyone who has recently moved to Massachusetts must obtain a valid Massachusetts driver’s license when they become a resident. Converting an out-of-state license is can be done at one of the RMV’s full-service branches.

Those moving from another state who are younger than 18 years old need:

  • Their out-of-state license
  • A document proving date of birth
  • A Class D, M, or D/M License and ID Card Application with a parent or guardian’s signature
  • A certified driving record not more than 30 days old from the state which issued the license
  • A valid Social Security number (SSN).

Those moving from another state who are 18 years of age or older need:  

  • Their out-of-state license;
  • A document proving date of birth
  • A document proving signature
  • A document proving Massachusetts residency
  • A valid Social Security number (SSN).

All documents must be originals. Photocopies will not be accepted. Drivers must also clear a check through the National Driver Register and pay any required fees.

Renewing a Massachusetts Driver’s License

To renew a Massachusetts driver’s license, residents can complete an online questionnaire to determine if their transaction may be completed online or if a visit to a RMV branch office is necessary.

For online transactions, a new license will be mailed to the recipient within 7–10 business days of processing updated contact information and the required fee.

Residents who can't conduct their transaction online should download and complete a renewal application and bring it to a local RMV branch with any additional required documents. All Massachusetts residents 75 years of age and older must renew their driver's license in person at an RMV office. Also, please note that Veteran’s Indicators are only added to licenses through in-person visits to the RMV, and not through online renewals.

Changing a Massachusetts Driver’s License, Permit, or ID Address

Massachusetts residents relocating within the state can change the address on a driver’s license, permit, or ID by:

All requests require a Massachusetts license/permit/ID number, date of birth, first name, last name, and the last four digits of the resident’s Social Security number (SSN).

Replacing a Massachusetts Driver's License

The fee for replacing a lost license is $25. However, you may be able to renew your license now if you are within one year of your expiration date.

You may order a duplicate license online, by calling the Telephone Center, or by visiting an RMV branch location. For those visiting a branch office we are now offering FasTrack Self- Service Kiosks for Duplicate licenses transactions, available at specified branches.