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Residency preference for Civil Service police and fire jobs

What residency preference is and how to update your record

Civil Service Law Chapter 31, section 58 permits cities and towns to ask that residents be placed on entry-level police and firefighter eligible lists before nonresidents. A "resident" is a person who has lived in the same city or town for the full year (12 months) before the original date of the examination. For example, if you took an examination on March 18, 2023, you would have to live in a single city or town from March 18, 2022 to March 18, 2023 to claim residency in that city or town.

  • Your residence, for the purpose of civil service law, is the place where you actually lived and intended as your permanent home.
  • If you were in the military, you may use the Massachusetts city or town where you lived when you entered the military if you returned to that city or town after you left the military, or, if you are still in the military, you intend to return to that city or town.
  • If you move to another city or town at any time during the year before the examination, you do not qualify for residency preference in any city or town.

How to Update Your Residency Preference

If you would like this office to adjust your record, please send an email to civilservice@mass.gov  and include the information listed below:

  1. a detailed statement that you wish to claim residency preference status for a particular city/town and that you have lived there for the entire twelve month period preceding the date of the examination.
  2. your name
  3. address during the time frame
  4. Person ID (located on your score notice)
  5. Examination Title (for example, Firefighter or Police Officer )

The appointing authority may require verification of residency for consideration prior to an appointment.

Military Residency Preference

For military personnel who were on full-time active duty during any part of or the entire 12-month period required to establish residency in a Massachusetts city or town, you may still be eligible to claim residency preference if you meet the following conditions:

  • You must have served a period of Full-Time Military Active Duty (for which you received or will receive a DD214) during any part of the 12 month period of:  
    • 2023 Firefighter - October 14, 2022 to October 14, 2023
  • You must have been a Massachusetts Resident at the time of entry into full-time active duty or your Home of Record on your DD214 for this period of active duty must be a city or town in Massachusetts.
  • You must return to your Home of Record (Town A) or establish residency in a different Massachusetts municipality (Town B) within 90 days of the date of separation/release/discharge from this period of active duty as listed on your DD214.
Massachusetts City/Town of your residence at time of entry:
Massachusetts City/Town of your residence upon separation/release/discharge from active duty:
You may claim Residency Preference in:

Town A

Town A

Town A

Town A

Town B

Town A or
Town B

Contact   for Residency preference for Civil Service police and fire jobs

Last updated: November 6, 2023

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