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How to Apply for a New Driver's License in Massachusetts

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By law, residents must obtain a Massachusetts drivers license if they plan to drive on public roadways. An MA DMV drivers license certifies that a driver understands road signs and traffic rules in order to safely operate a motor vehicle. Additionally, a state drivers license serves as an official identification document, accepted by all government agencies. Before a resident can obtain a new drivers license, he or she must pass a drivers ed course, and fulfill other requirements set by the MassDOT Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).

Did you know? Most new drivers fail the written driving test on the first try. Take your test with confidence when you study with our DMV practice exam.

How to Apply for a Massachusetts Driver's License:

  • Visit an MA RMV location.
  • Provide proof of completing an approved driver's ed course (if younger than 18).
  • Present the required documentation.
  • Pass the written DMV exam.
  • Take and pass the driving test.
  • Pass a vision exam.
  • Pay Massachusetts driver's license fees.

The topics below discuss what you need to know about getting drivers license privileges in Massachusetts.

Types of Drivers Licenses in Massachusetts

To obtain a Massachusetts drivers license, you will need to fill out a drivers license application and schedule a road test. Both standard MA drivers licenses and CDL drivers licenses are available to qualified candidates.

  • Class D learner drivers license - Grants new drivers permission to operate a vehicle, under certain restrictions.
  • Class D drivers license - Grants drivers permission to operate a non-commercial vehicle that weighs less than 26,001 pounds (GVWR).
  • Motorcycle license - Grants drivers permission to operate a motorcycle.
  • Commercial Drivers License (CDL) - Class A, B or C driving license - Issued to drivers who operate commercial vehicles.

First-Time Driver (Under 18) in Massachusetts

Drivers licenses are issued to legally allow Massachusetts residents to operate a motor vehicle in the state. In order to obtain a new drivers license, driving applicants must meet specific requirements outlined by the MassDOT Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). Requirements to get an MA drivers license include passing written and behind-the-wheel exams, as well as providing proof of identity and in-state residency.

For more information, visit our Learner's Permit page.

Massachusetts New Drivers (Over 18)

All new drivers who have never held a license must take a written drivers test before obtaining a full Massachusetts drivers license.

MA Driver's Study Guide and Driver's Practice Test

Drivers who want to prepare themselves for the written exam can benefit from taking a practice permit test. Our Massachusetts DMV practice test reviews essential questions and topics that you'll encounter on the official MA RMV exam.

How to Apply for Drivers Licenses in MA

Driving applicants must schedule an appointment to take a road test at a local RMV branch in order to receive a full Massachusetts state drivers license. New drivers license applicants must also gather and present the following original documents:

  • Proof of identity and date of birth.
  • Proof of Social Security Number.
  • Proof of Massachusetts residency .
  • A pre-existing document which displays the driving applicant's signature.

MA Drivers License Eligibility Requirements

New drivers applying for a Massachusetts DMV drivers license must be at least 16 years and six months of age and have held a learners permit in good standing for at least six consecutive months. Additionally, driving applicants must provide proper documentation, pass a written driver's exam, a driving skills test and a vision screening. These tests are to certify that you are a safe driver.

Note: Minors younger than 18 also have to present proof of completion of a driver education program and have a parent or legal guardian sign the drivers license application.

MA Written/Driving Test

The MA RMV requires all drivers to pass a written driving test in order to be eligible to receive an MA drivers license. New drivers will also need to receive a passing score on a driving skills test before the issuance of a full Massachusetts drivers license. A practice permit test is a useful tool to use when preparing for your written DMV test. A DMV practice test can let you know what to expect on the actual exam.

MA Driving Test

During your Massachusetts driver's test, an RMV examiner will assess your ability to safely navigate a motor vehicle while performing driving maneuvers. The following select maneuvers may be included on your driving exam:

  • Your ability to perform a three-point turn and parallel park.
  • Your ability to obey traffic signs.
  • Your ability to properly yield the right of way.
  • Your ability to comply with speed limit and surrounding traffic conditions .

Only the driver, the RMV examiner and the driver's eligible sponsor may be present in the vehicle during the driving skills exam. The driving applicant must provide a registered vehicle that is safe and in working order to complete the test. Any specialized features, such as back-up sensors and cameras, must be disabled for the exam.

New Massachusetts Resident

If you recently moved to Massachusetts, you must transfer your out-of-state DMV drivers license as soon as you establish residency. You can complete an online application to convert your driving license, but you are still required to visit a local DMV branch to submit your application, present the required documents and pay a fee. Required documents include proofs of identity, birthdate, signature, residency and Social Security Number. You will also have to provide proof of your transferred car title and new state car insurance. Drivers with a valid DMV license or a license that has been expired for four years or less may be considered exempt from taking the road test.

New Massachusetts residents also have the responsibility of registering their vehicle. Newly registered vehicles must undergo an Enhanced Emissions and Safety Test within seven days of registration and once a year thereafter.

Replace Driver's License in Massachusetts

State residents who need an MA replacement drivers license can easily request one online or over the phone by calling the RMV phone center. For more information about applying for a duplicate drivers license, click here.

Locate a DMV in Massachusetts

If you would like to review different RMV branches and find contact information for the MA DMV nearest you, visit our MA DMV locations page.

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