Massachusetts Driver’s License Requirements

To get a full driver’s license in MA, you must pass a road test at 18 or older with a valid learner’s permit—and citizenship is no longer a requirement.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Edited by R.E. Fulton
To get a driver’s license in
, you must be 18 years or older, have a valid learner’s permit, and pass tests—but lawful residency is no longer a requirement as of July 2023.
  • Young MA drivers must first hold a learner’s permit and then a JOL before applying for a full license.
  • Drivers must pass a vision test and a road test to earn a Mass driver’s license.
  • There is a $50 one-time license fee and a $30 road test fee.
  • As of July 2023, proof of citizenship is no longer required by the RMV. 

What are the requirements for a driver’s license in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts residents who are at least 18 years old with a
valid state learner’s permit
are eligible to apply to take a road test for their unrestricted driver’s license. 
Before you head to the local Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) office to take your road test, make sure you have documents to prove the following:
  • Proof of Massachusetts residency: mortgage statement, lease agreement, 1st class government-issued mail, bank statement, current insurance policy documentation, W-2 or 1099 form, utility bill, school transcript or tuition bill, or an alternative residency affidavit.
  • Social Security number (if applicable): Social Security card, W-2 form, paycheck including your complete SSN, 1099 form, military ID, or SSN denial form with passport, visa, and I-94.
  • Identification card or another ID card proving your date of birth
As of July 2023, proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful residence is no longer required. Drivers do not need to provide a US birth certificate, US passport, certificate of naturalization, certificate of citizenship, or valid alien registration receipt card (such as a green card).
Individual documents can only be used to prove one requirement and photocopied and laminated documents will not be accepted.
Check the
Registry of Motor Vehicles website
for a full list of acceptable documentation for your application. Remember, you’ll need two forms of documentation to prove Massachusetts residency if you’re applying for a Real ID over a standard license.
In addition to documentation, you’ll need to pay a $35 fee to take your road test and provide a completed road test application that you can
fill out online
and print at home.
Requirements are different for the
Massachusetts commercial driver’s license

What are the requirements for young drivers? 

Applying for a learner’s permit: Applicants below the age of 18 must first apply for their learner’s permit before being able to hold a
Junior Operator’s License
. To apply for a learner’s permit, you’ll need to do the following in addition to providing the required documentation and application listed above:
  • Provide parental consent
  • Pass a vision test
  • Pass the learner’s permit exam (which you can
    practice online
Driving with a learner’s permit: Drivers with their Massachusetts learner’s permit must be supervised at all times by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old and has a minimum of one year of experience.
Applying for a Junior Operator’s License: Residents between the ages of 16 and a half (the
driving age in Massachusetts
) and 18 can take a road test for their Junior Operator’s License once they’ve held their learner’s permit with a
clean record
for at least six months and have completed the following:
  • Driver’s education requirements at an RMV-licensed institution
  • 40 hours of supervised driving with a parent or guardian over the age of 21
  • Parental completion of a two-hour course on the driver’s education curriculum
Driving with a JOL: Drivers with their Junior Operator License are not allowed to drive with passengers under the age of 18 or between 12 A.M. and 5 A.M. unless they’re supervised by a licensed adult at least 21 years or older. These restrictions last for the JOL-holder’s first six months or until they turn 18.
Key Takeaway: Young drivers in Massachusetts below the age of 18 can drive on a restricted Junior Operator’s License once they’ve held their learner’s permit for at least six months and have completed driver’s education supervised hours.

What are the requirements for out-of-state drivers? 

Out-of-state drivers from within the United States: May use their current valid driver’s license as long as they like
Foreign drivers from another eligible country: May only use their foreign driver’s license for up to a year 
Drivers wanting to switch to a Massachusetts license just need to pass a vision test and provide a recent copy of their driving record (less than 30 days old). Applicants will have to supply the required documents listed previously with at least two documents to prove Massachusetts residency for the license application.
License transfer fee: $115
Drivers from outside the United States are only eligible for a license transfer if they’re from one of the following countries:
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • A U.S. territory (like Puerto Rico)
  • Republic of Korea
  • Germany
  • France
  • Taiwan

How to get a driver’s license in Massachusetts

All new drivers in the state of Massachusetts must start with their learner’s permit and be 18 years or older to apply for their unrestricted driver’s license. The driver’s license comes with a $50 fee.

1. Vision test

Before applying for a permit or license, new drivers and out-of-state drivers are all required to prove that they can see the road by passing a vision test. The test can be completed at the Massachusetts RMV or with your medical practitioner—just make sure they give you an RMV vision screening certificate.

2. Permit exam

After applying for a learner’s permit, you can go to the RMV at any time to complete a 25 multiple-choice question exam on the rules of the road, road signs, and Massachusetts driving procedures. 
The best way to prepare for this written test is by studying the
driver’s manual
then taking
practice exams online
. You need to answer 18 questions correctly in less than 25 minutes to pass your permit exam.
You can retake the test at any time if you fail, but you’ll need to pay a $30 fee each time.

For drivers under 18: take driver’s education

All applicants for a Junior Operator License in Massachusetts are required to complete driver’s education at a public high school or RMV-licensed professional driving school. 
Driver’s education in the Commonwealth consists of the following for successful completion:
  • 30 hours: Classroom instruction in driver’s education at a public high school or licensed professional driving school
  • 12 hours: Behind the wheel training with an instructor
  • Six hours: Backseat observation of other student drivers
Parents are also required to complete a two-hour course on the driver’s education curriculum, but most programs include a parent’s session in their fees.

3. Road test

Once you’ve got a valid Massachusetts learner’s permit and you are over the age of 18, you are ready to schedule your road test at your local RMV service center or
Bring a licensed sponsor at least 21 years or older who has at least one year of driving experience and a
registered, properly equipped vehicle
with clean seating and an accessible parking brake in the middle console.
You’ll need all of the following required documents at your test:
  • Social Security number
  • Massachusetts residency
  • Completed road test application
  • Valid Massachusetts learner’s permit
  • Proof of insurance that meets
    Massachusetts minimum requirements
During the road test, your instructor will test these skills:
  • Starting and stopping the vehicle
  • Using hand signals
  • Making right and left turns
  • Three-point turn
  • Stopping, starting, and making turns on a hill
  • Reversing the vehicle
  • Navigating intersections
  • Recognizing and following traffic signals, signs, and lights
  • Implementing and adhering to all rules of the road
Maintain good posture with proper hand placement on the wheel. Check your surroundings regularly, always keep a safe distance from other vehicles, use turn signals when changing lanes, and yield the right of way when appropriate.
After you pass your driving test and pay your license fees, your administrator will stamp your learner’s permit for use until your permanent license is mailed to you. 
If you fail you can reschedule at any time, but you are limited to six road tests every 12 months.

The new Massachusetts 2023 Work and Family Mobility Act

As of July 2023, eligible residents of Massachusetts—regardless of immigration status—may get a standard driver’s license without proof of lawful presence.
Undocumented Massachusetts residents are now eligible for a full driver’s license.
The RMV does not share information with immigration authorities, and these licenses will look like all other licenses. Learn more from this
official fact sheet
“I was a new driver looking for insurance and scared about expensive payments. But then I found
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To get your driver’s license in Massachusetts you’ll need to have a valid learner’s permit or Junior Operator License and provide documents proving Massachusetts residency, Social Security number (if applicable), and proof of insurance.
The fee for a standard Class-D non-commercial license in Massachusetts is $50. Be prepared to pay additional fees for driver’s education, if required, and a $35 fee to take your road test. The fee for out-of-state license transfers is $115.
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