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""The other parts of this series outline how to plan your move to Massachusetts and ways to settle in to the Bay State, such as establishing residency and finding a job.

However, if you are planning to drive or bring a car when moving here, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind. This section has information from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) to guide you through converting an out-of-state driver’s license or ID, converting a driver’s license from a foreign country, converting out-of-state vehicle registration, bringing leased vehicles to Massachusetts, and getting auto insurance.

Converting an Out-of-State Driver’s License or ID

Once you move to Massachusetts, you must convert your out-of-state license to continue driving. You’ll need to fill out a Class D, M, or D/M License and ID Card application, which you can also submit online, and take several original forms of ID (not photocopies) to a Massachusetts RMV branch office. Common documents you may need include:

  • Your out-of-state license. If your out-of-state license does not have a photo, you must present another form of photo ID from the Acceptable Identification Documents List.
  • A document proving your date of birth, such as your original birth certificate.
  • A document proving your signature, such as a passport or social security card.
  • A document proving Massachusetts residency, such as a household bill addressed to you.

Conversion fees are also required. The amount varies depending on the license class.

If your out-of-state license has been expired for more than one year but less than four years, you will be required to take a written test. If your license has been expired for more than four years, you will need to take a written and road test, as well as a vision exam.

Converting a Driver’s License from a Foreign Country

If you are converting a license from a foreign country, you must take the full driver’s test, which includes the written, road, and vision exams, and present identification documents similar to those outlined in the previous section. You may also need a sponsor depending on the country that issued your license. However, if you are a foreign visitor with a valid license from one of the countries or territories approved by the RMV, you may legally drive in Massachusetts for up to one year. The year begins on the date of your arrival, and you must be at least 18 years old and drive only the vehicle type covered by your license.

You may be eligible to convert your out-of-state license into a Massachusetts one if you currently carry a valid license from a U.S. territory, Canada, or Mexico. The license must meet the RMV’s identification requirements.

International driving permits cannot be converted to a Massachusetts driver’s license, and do not give you any driving privileges.

Converting Out-of-State Vehicle Registration

If you are living in Massachusetts, you are required by law to register your vehicle(s). To convert an out-of-state registration:

  1. Get an active Massachusetts auto insurance policy and have the agent complete, stamp, and sign an RMV-1 (Application for Registration and Title Form). If there is a lien against the vehicle, you will be required to submit your out-of-state registration rather than your out-of-state title. In this case, Form RMV-1 must include the lienholder’s information and the out-of-state title number.
  2. After verifying all information, sign the title application (RMV-1) and submit the following documents along with it:
  • Your out-of-state title, if there is no lienholder
  • Your current out-of-state registration, if the vehicle was exempt from title due to its age or currently has a lienholder
  • A completed Form MVU-29
  1. If you purchased your vehicle less than six months before your move, you may need to fill out Form MVU-29 (Affidavit in Support of a Claim for Exemption from Sales or Use Tax for a Motor Vehicle Purchased Outside of Massachusetts).
  2. Bring all these documents to the nearest RMV branch office.

Once this transaction is complete, you will receive a registration certificate, new license plates, and an expiration decal for the rear plate. The title will be processed and mailed in about six to eight weeks. If you have a lien on the vehicle, the title will be mailed directly to your lienholder.

You must have your vehicle inspected at a Massachusetts inspection station within seven days of the registration date. Registration fees vary by plate type. Additionally, a $75 title fee and applicable sales tax will be collected.

Bringing Leased Vehicles to Massachusetts

In general, leased vehicles must be registered and titled in Massachusetts. However, there are exceptions, so check with the RMV to determine what steps you need to take. If the leased vehicle needs to be titled in Massachusetts, the leasee must bring the Form RMV-1, the current out-of-state title, a $75 title fee, and registration fee to an RMV branch office.

Getting Automobile Insurance

All Massachusetts drivers are required to have minimum insurance coverage. To help you find the appropriate insurance, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR) Division of Insurance offers a tool to compare auto insurance premiums, a shopping for auto insurance guide, and tips that outline ways to save on automobile insurance.

Keep this information in mind as you settle into your new Massachusetts home, and check out Part 1: Planning Your Move and Part 3: Settling In of this series for more insights about how to manage your move.

If you have questions about converting your license or registration, tweet @MassGov or comment below. 

 

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