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How to Register a Vehicle in Massachusetts

Vehicle Registration Online Services Guide

Massachusetts Car Registration

After you purchase a vehicle, whether it is from a dealership or a private seller, it is important that you learn how to register car documents. The process depends on two factors:

  1. What type of motor vehicle it is
  2. From whom the vehicle was purchased from

Information Related to New Driver's Licenses

Types of Vehicles that Must Be Registered

The state of Massachusetts requires that a wide variety of vehicles be registered if they are driven on state roadways. Getting car registration in MAis required for the following vehicles:

  • Passenger vehicles
  • Commercial vehicles
  • Motorcycles
  • Auto homes
  • Ambulances
  • Buses
  • Trailers
  • Taxis
  • Off-highway vehicles
  • Rebuilt salvage vehicles

Check the VIN When You Are Buying a Used Car

Purchasing a vehicle can be exhilarating, but it is important that you take into account the car's history before you buy it. The best way to know what is really underneath the hood by ordering a vehicle history report. Simply find the VIN number of the vehicle and plug it into a trustworthy online system to generate a vehicle history report. You are just a click away from accessing the information about the car's:

  • Accident history.
  • Past owners.

How to Register a Car in Massachusetts

Given that you only have 10 days to register a vehicle in Massachusetts, you must begin the process promptly. However, you are only allowed to register at a local DMV office. You cannot register a car online in Massachusetts. To successfully register your used vehicle in Massachusetts, follow these steps:

  1. Get car insurance, as you will not be able to register a vehicle without proving you have met minimum state coverage requirements.
  2. Have your car insurance agent fill out, stamp and sign an Application for Registration and Title (RMV-1) form.
  3. Provide one of the following documents to accompany your application:
  4. Certificate of Origin, for new vehicles
  5. Certificate of Title or dealer-reassignment if applicable
  6. Previous car registration or bill of sale for vehicles that are exempt
  7. Take the applicable forms to a local RMV office.
  8. Pay necessary fees.
  9. The MA RMV accepts cash, checks and money orders

Keep in mind that if you use a Certificate of Origin or Title, you must make sure that the odometer reading, sale price and date of sale are featured on the back of the document.
Once you have completed the process and handed in your application, you will receive new plates and a decal for your rear plate. Your vehicle title will be mailed to you or your lien holder in six to eight weeks. In addition, the MA RMV requires you to get a vehicle inspection sticker within seven days of when you go to register car credentials.

New Vehicles

If you have purchased a new vehicle, the car dealership will take care of a portion of the registration process for you, such as completing the Application for Registration and Title (RMV-1) form. Thereafter, you will need to bring this document (with an agent stamp from your insurance provider) as well as the certificate of title to your nearest RMV office.

Smog Inspection

After buying a car, you will have seven days to have a smog check and emissions testing completed on your vehicle. Keep in mind, though, that some vehicles may receive a smog and emissions testing waiver. Some of these vehicles include but are not limited to the following:

  • Electric powered vehicles
  • Military vehicles
  • Certain diesel vehicles

New Resident Car Registration

If you are a new resident to Massachusetts, you must convert your car registration within 30 days of establishing residency. Keep in mind that you cannot register a car online. You must go in person to title your vehicle.
The process to do so is as follows:

  1. Get car insurance, as you will not be able to register a car without minimum state coverage.
  2. Have your insurance agent fill out, sign and stamp your Application for Registration and Title (RMV-1) form and sign the document yourself.
  3. Take the following to your local RMV office:
  4. Your out-of-state car title.
  5. If applicable, Affidavit in Support of a Claim for Exemption from Sales or Use Tax for a Motor Vehicle Purchased Outside of Massachusetts (MVU-29) form.
  6. Payment for $75 new title fee and registration fees.
    • The MA RMV accepts cash, checks and money orders.

How to Register a Vehicle as a Non-Resident

If you are not a resident of the state of Massachusetts, you are not required to register car credentials in the state. This applies if you are living in Massachusetts for:

  • School.
  • Work.

If you are a non-resident who is a student in Massachusetts and using an out-of-state car registration, you must submit a Nonresident Driver Statement to a local police department in order to avoid a $200 fine.

Moving to a Different State

If you are in the process of leaving Massachusetts and establishing residence in a different state, you will need to surrender your license plate, either in person or by mail. Make sure to also get in touch with the DMV at your new state prior to moving for information about how to transfer car registration.

How to Register a Vehicle as a Military Member

If you are a Massachusetts resident stationed within the state, you simply have to follow the steps listed above for registering car documents. However, if you are stationed out-of-state and want to register a vehicle that you bought in Massachusetts, then you will have to send your application by mail. Make sure to call the RMV for details at 857-368-8000.

How to Register a Motorcycle

The process to register a motorcycle or motorized scooter in Massachusetts is basically the same process that is required when you go to register a passenger vehicle. You must:

  1. Buy car insurance, as you will not be able to register a vehicle without proof of meeting the minimum state coverage requirements.
  2. Get your car insurance agent to fill out, stamp and sign an Application for Registration and Title (RMV-1) form.
  3. Provide one of the following documents to accompany your application:
  4. Certificate of Origin, for new vehicles
  5. Certificate of Title or dealer-reassignment if applicable
  6. Previous car registration or bill of sale for vehicles that are exempt
  7. Take the applicable forms to a local RMV office.
  8. Pay necessary fees.
  9. The MA RMV accepts cash, checks and money orders.

Remember that if you choose to bring a Certificate or Origin or Title, the document must feature the odometer reading, sale price and date of sale on the back of it.

How to Register a Trailer

In order to register a trailer that you have purchased, you will have to:

  1. Complete an Application for Registration and Title (RMV-1) form.
  2. This must include a signature from your car insurance agent.
  3. Bring one of the following documents to accompany the application:
  4. Certificate of Origin for new trailer
  5. Previous owner's vehicle title
  6. Bill of sale, if the vehicle was not titled
  7. Pay the applicable fee, depending on the type of trailer (check RMV fee schedule here).
  8. The MA RMV accepts cash, checks and money orders

Keep in mind that if you use a bill of sale, you must feature the following information for it to be an acceptable document:

  • Names of buyer and seller
  • Addresses of buyer and seller
  • Signatures of buyer and seller
  • Sale date
  • Selling price
  • Vehicle information (make, model, year and VIN number)

In addition, if the gross weight of the trailer is 3,000 pounds or less, you do not need to use a vehicle title. One is only required if the trailer weighs 3,001 pounds or more. You will be able to find the gross weight on the Certificate of Origin.

How to Register Boats

In order to register a boat in the state of Massachusetts, you must complete the process through the Boat, Off-Highway Vehicle and Snowmobile Registration Bureau. You will be required to fill out a Registration and Titling Application at one of their five available offices. For more information, visit this link.

Suspended Vehicle Registration

Your vehicle registration can be suspended due to a number of reasons, including but not limited to a suspended driver's license or lack of car insurance. In order to reinstate your car registration, you will need to complete any requirements related to your suspension. For details pertaining to your specific case, contact your DMV and speak to a driver's license agent.

Fees for Car Registration

The final thing you need to do when you get car registration in Massachusetts is pay the registration fees. Thus, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the various fees of the registration process. The various prices for DMV car registration are as follows:

  • For standard passenger vehicles: $60 for two years
  • For reserved passenger registration: $100 for two years
  • For standard motorcycles: $20 for one year
  • For reserved motorcycle registration: $40 for one year

The Massachusetts RMV will accept the following methods of payment: cash, checks and money orders. For the full fee schedule, click here.

How to Get Handicap Placards

If you qualify for handicap placards in Massachusetts, the process to obtain the placards and plates is really quite simple and can be done at the same time that you are getting car registration documents. All you have to do is follow these steps:

  1. Fill out the first page of theApplication for Disabled Parking Placard/Plate.
  2. Have a licensed physician, chiropractor or nurse practitioner complete the second page of the application.
  3. Mail the form to the Medical Affairs Bureau or take it to a local RMV branch.

For those who would like to mail in their application, the address you must send it to is below:

Registry of Motor Vehicles
Attn: Medical Affairs
PO Box 55889
Boston, MA 02205-5889    

Personalized License Plates

One other thing to remember when you go to register car documents at a nearby RMV office is that you will have the chance to get vanity license plates during your visit. If you are interested, you will be able to pick the numbers and letters that appear on your two mandatory Massachusetts license plates, as well as a cause, university or sports team
You can browse for customizable plates using a reliable online service that also gives you the opportunity to purchase custom license plates right then and there. It's more well-known to do this process in person. Fortunately, you can save yourself the time and a trip to a local licensing office by ordering a personalized license plate online.

Related Links

Submitted by DL on 10th Jul 2015

Registration/titling of

Registration/titling of antique car purchased in Canada

I have purchsed an antique car from a Canadian seller, so there is no U.S. title. The car is old enough to be exempt from all EPA emeissions requirements. The seller passed on his registration card to me and I also have a bill of sale and the Form 7501 that U.S. Customs stamped when the car was brought into the country. Will MA RMV require anything else besides proof of insurance in order to register the car and apply for a MA title?

Submitted by Stevem on 18th Jun 2013

my credit is poor and my

my credit is poor and my fiancee is securing a car loan for me here in Massachusetts. The loan will be hers, so hence the car is "hers" also, correct? if so, how can I get the vehicle registered to me? I don't think she can "gift" it to me, as there would still be a loan under her name for it. She couldn't have me take over the payments, because I wouldn't be able to get the same low interest rate as her (she has sparkling credit)

Submitted by shaun3cart on 5th Jun 2013

I just registered my vehicle

I just registered my vehicle and the place doing inspection sticker lost the registaration. What is the easiest way to get a new one?

Submitted by LisaCiccatelli on 8th Mar 2013

How can I get a duplicate

How can I get a duplicate registration. I lost mine.

Submitted by crabbydaddy on 27th Jul 2011

tying to buy a truck in mass

tying to buy a truck in mass but found out they do not have transporter tags. 30 day tags WHY NOT? this is making it damn near impossible. i have already bought airline tickets which are non-refundable,so after trying tofigure out how to get truck home(live in buffalo ny), i wont be in any hurry to come back here.just bought a car for my daughter in pittsburgh,no problem,have bought cars in ky,no problem,also bought 1 in fla. no problem there. just here in mass have i run into this problem and so far its cost me 475 in plane tickets. not real happy