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Moving to Massachusetts:
Part 1

  1. Planning Your Move
  2. Moving With Pets
  3. Moving Day Parking Restrictions
  4. Change of Address
  5. Establishing Residency
  6. Visas

Part 2

  1. Converting an Out-Of-State Driver’s License
  2. Converting a Driver’s License From a Foreign Country
  3. Changing a Massachusetts Driver’s License or ID Address
  4. Converting an Out-Of-State Vehicle Registration
  5. Bringing Leased Vehicles to Massachusetts

Part 3

  1. Employment
  2. Education
  3. Health Care Coverage
  4. Automobile Insurance
  5. Taxes

When moving to a new state, there is more paperwork to complete than simply filing a change of address form with the U.S. Post Office. From obtaining a new license from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles to registering your vehicle at your new address, there are many things to consider. Familiarizing yourself with these processes will facilitate your transition to becoming a resident of Massachusetts.

Converting an Out-of-State Driver’s License

Once an individual becomes a Massachusetts resident, there is no grace period for driving with a license from another state. A person with an out-of-state license who becomes a Massachusetts resident must convert the license in order to continue driving. The following documents are required when applying at a Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicle branch office:

  1. 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.
    • If you do not have your out-of-state license to surrender, you must provide a photo ID from the Acceptable Identification Documents list and a certified driving record not more than 30 days old from the state where you currently hold your license.
  2. A document proving your date of birth, such as your original birth certificate.
  3. A document proving your signature, such as a passport or social security card.
    • An out-of-state license presented as one of the ID documents can be used to confirm signature or date of birth. It cannot be used to confirm both.
  4. A document proving Massachusetts residency, such as a household bill addressed to you.
  5. Your Social Security Number (SSN), which the RMV can verify with the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) or an acceptable alternative document (known as a “Denial Notice”) from the SSA.
  6. For anyone under 18 years old, additional documentation – including parental consent – is required on the license or ID card application. Parents provide written consent on the permit/license/ID card application.

Conversion fees vary.

All documents must be originals; photocopies will not be accepted.

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 driver’s test, as well as a vision exam.

Converting a Driver’s License from a Foreign Country

If you are converting a license from a country other than Canada, Mexico, or one of the U.S. territories, you must take the full driver’s test: written, road, and vision exams.

If you are from a country listed in the 1949 Road Acts Convention, you must have a sponsor and you must present your valid driver’s license from that country. Your sponsor must be at least 21 years old with a valid U.S. driver’s license and have a minimum of one year of driving experience. Foreign license holders are not eligible to be sponsors.

International driving permits cannot be converted to a Massachusetts driver’s license. An international driving permit does not confer any driving privileges.

Changing a Massachusetts Driver’s License or ID Address

If you are a Massachusetts resident relocating within the state, changing the address on your driver’s license, permit, or ID is easy through the online change of address request. You will need your Massachusetts license/permit/ID number, date of birth, first name, last name, and the last four digits of your social security number.

Converting an Out-of-State Vehicle Registration

Massachusetts residents are required by law to register their vehicles.

To convert an out-of-state registration:

  1. Fill out Form MVU-29: Affidavit in Support for Exemption from Sales or Use Tax for a Motor Vehicle Purchased Outside of Massachusetts.
  2. Go to a licensed Massachusetts insurance agent to obtain an active auto insurance policy (if needed) and have the agent complete, stamp, and sign a RMV-1: Application for Registration and Title Form. If there is a lien against the vehicle, you will be required to surrender your out-of-state registration rather than your out-of-state title. In this case, Form RMV-1 must note the complete lienholder information and the out-of-state title number.
  3. After verifying all information, sign the title application. Along with the completed application, you must submit the following documents:
  1. Bring 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 approximately six to eight weeks. If you have a loan on the vehicle, the title will be mailed directly to your lienholder.

Your vehicle must pass a safety and emissions test from a registered Massachusetts inspection station within seven days of the registration date.

Registration fees vary by plate type. Additionally, a $75.00 title fee and applicable sales tax will be collected.

Bringing Leased Vehicles to Massachusetts

If you bring a leased vehicle to Massachusetts, it must be registered and titled in Massachusetts unless it is currently titled in the leasing company’s state of residence. If the leased vehicle needs to be titled in Massachusetts, the leasee must bring the RMV 1: Application for Registration and Title Form, the current out-of-state title, a $75.00 title fee, and registration fee to your nearest RMV branch office.

What are your tips for changing licenses or registration while moving? Share them with us in the comments below, or tweet us @MassGov

Read more in our “Moving to Massachusetts” blog series:

Part 1 – Planning Your Move

Part 3 – Employment, Education, Insurance, and Taxes


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