Massachusetts car registration documents are handled by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). However, the process of how to get car registration documents varies depending on whether the vehicle is purchased from a dealer, private party or from out-of-state. Additionally, getting car registration documents requires motorists to complete an Application for Car Registration and Title, regardless of where the vehicle is purchased. Auto registration services also require a vehicle inspection through the Vehicle Check Program. To learn more about obtaining MA car registry documents, review the sections below.
Massachusetts Vehicle Registration Information Required
To obtain MA car registry documents, all applicants must complete an Application for Auto Registration and Title (Form RMV-1) and perform a vehicle inspection within seven days of registering a vehicle. The car registration vehicle inspection takes place at any licensed inspection station in the state and includes a vehicle emissions test and/or safety inspection.
When completing an MA registration of vehicle application, motorists must provide a vehicle identification number (VIN), information about the vehicle's owner(s), a description of the vehicle and details pertaining to the vehicle's title, odometer reading, lienholder and auto insurance policy.
Where to Register a Car in Massachusetts for the First Time
To get car registration documents on a vehicle purchased from a dealership, the dealer must complete and sign the auto registration application for the motorist. Then, the motorist must visit a licensed insurance agent to obtain an auto insurance policy. During this time, the MA car registration application must be signed and stamped by the licensed insurance agent before the application may be submitted in-person at an RMV Service Center.
To obtain registration of vehicle documents on privately-purchased vehicles or vehicles purchased from an out-of-state dealer, motorists must visit a licensed auto insurance agent to obtain a policy. During this time, the agent must complete, sign and stamp the Massachusetts vehicle registration application on behalf of the motorist. Signed and stamped Massachusetts car registration applications along with all required supporting documents must be submitted in-person at an RMV Full Service Center. Hours and locations for auto registration services can be found online through the RMV Service Center Locations page. To register a vehicle as a new resident, a registrant must also provide a driver's license number, state ID card number, Social Security Number or other proof of state residency.
How to Register a New Car in Massachusetts
Getting car registration documentation on vehicles purchased from a local dealership or out-of-state dealer requires motorists to visit an RMV Full Service Center to submit the vehicle's Bill of Sale along with a completed Massachusetts vehicle registration application. The registration of vehicle application must be stamped by an insurance agent after the motorist obtains an insurance policy.
"When I register my car, what other documents do I need to provide?", motorists may ask. One of the following documents must be submitted along with the stamped vehicle registration application and Bill of Sale:
- A Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (for new vehicles). The Certificate of Origin must include the vehicle's odometer reading, purchase price, date sold and the previous owner (or dealer's) signature.
- The previous owner's Certificate of Title or the Dealer Re-Assignment form (if applicable).
- If a vehicle is exempt from having a title because of its age, the vehicle's previous auto registration certificate must be submitted.
When submitting new car registration applications and documents, registration fees and sales tax must be paid. Motorists will then receive the vehicle's MA car registry certificate, license plates and a year of expiration decal for the vehicle's rear plate. Applicants will receive the vehicle's title within six to eight weeks. However, the lienholder may receive the title if there is a loan on the vehicle. Within seven days of completing auto registration services, motorists must perform a vehicle inspection.
Note: Out-of-state vehicles are exempt from titling if vehicles are older than model year 1980 and if they were purchased before November 26, 1990. Additionally, out-of-state vehicles previously registered in another state for at least six months are exempt from paying sales tax.
How to Register a Used Car in Massachusetts
The MA motor vehicle registration process for privately-purchased vehicles is similar to that of vehicles purchased from a dealership. After obtaining auto insurance and stamping the auto registration application, the registration application and proof of insurance must be submitted in-person at an RMV Full Service Center.
Other required vehicle registration information and documentation that must be submitted includes proof of vehicle ownership. Proof of ownership includes a Certificate of Title or a Bill of Sale along with the vehicle's previous registration certificate (if the vehicle is exempt from obtaining a title). As part of the Massachusetts DMV car registration method, proof of ownership must include the signatures of the sellers and buyers, as well as the vehicle's recorded mileage.
The process of how to get car registration also requires motorists to pay all applicable registration fees, titling fees and sales tax. Additionally, drivers must complete a vehicle inspection within seven days of registration.
Temporary Massachusetts Vehicle Registration
Drivers cannot obtain temporary registration of vehicle plates in Massachusetts. As part of MA motor vehicle registration procedures, registrants receive new plates, decals and a registration certificate after completing the transaction.