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Driver's Licenses/State IDs

OBTAINING a Massachusetts Driver’s License or State ID

Information here is accurate at the time of page creation, but can change at any time. For most up to date information, please visit the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Obtaining a Massachusetts Driver’s License will give you the ability to drive a car in the United States. As an international student, you would most likely be interested in getting a Class D (passenger) license.


Applying for a Class D permit

A Class D Permit is the first step required to earn a license. It gives you the ability to practice your driving skills as long as you have a licensed driver age 21 or older, with at least 1 year of driving experience in the United States, in the passenger seat with you. It is illegal to drive alone if you only have a permit. To obtain your permit, you must bring the following four original documents to the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV):

  • Document proving date of birth (such as a Certificate of Enrollment with DOB from the Registrar’s Office)
  • Document proving signature (such as a passport with visa, or I-20 )
  • Document proving Massachusetts residency (such as a lease or a printed bank statement with your local address)
  • A  Social  Security  Number  (SSN)  OR  an  acceptable  Denial  Notice  form  the  Social  Security  Administration. If presenting a Denial Notice, you must also bring:
    • Proof of visa status
    • I-94
    • Current non-U.S. Passport

Upon arrival at the RMV, you will fill out a License and ID Card Application (available at the RMV) and pay the application fee (cash, check, or credit card). You will also be required to take an eye exam. From there, you will be required to take the written test. The test is available in 27 different languages if you do not wish to take the test in English. To pass, you must answer at least 18 of the 25 questions correctly. It is recommended you read and fully understand the Massachusetts Driver’s Manual before taking the test.


applying for a class d license

You can apply for a license at any time as long as you are over 18 and have a Class D permit. To take the road test, you must schedule ahead of time and show up at the designated location for your appointment. Learn more about obtaining the Class D License. For the road test, you must have a sponsor with you who is at least 21 years old, has at least one year of driving experience in the United States, and possesses a valid U.S. driver’s license. Additionally, you must bring:

  • A completed Class D Road Test Application
  • Your valid Class D Permit
  • A Vehicle

Once you pass the road test, your permit will be stamped and signed by the examiner. You must bring the signed permit, a completed License and ID Card Application, and the appropriate fee to the RMV to receive your license. 

Please note: You must use a vehicle that has an emergency hand break between the driver and front passenger seats. If you bring a vehicle with an emergency foot break, you will not be allowed to take the test and will be required to reschedule. The vehicle must also have a valid inspection sticker and be legally registered and insured.


rmv location and hours

The Registry of Motor Vehicles branch in Boston is located at 136 Blackstone Street, Boston, MA. The office is open Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 5:00pm.


driving schools

While you are not required by law to take driver education classes through a certified driving school, it can help you to learn U.S. driving rules and expectations. Additionally, it can help to reduce your insurance premiums.


converting a us license from another state

If you have a license from another state in the U.S. that has not yet expired, you must convert your license to a Massachusetts license once you become a resident of Massachusetts. To do so, you must follow the same process listed in Applying for a Class D Permit but also bring your out-of-state license which will be surrendered to the RMV.


converting a us license from another country

If you are licensed in another country other than Canada, Mexico, or one of the U.S. Territories, you must take the full written test, road test, and eye exam.


driving with a foreign license

Legally, foreign visitors from specific countries can drive with their foreign license for up to one year from the date of arrival in the United States. However, this is designed for short-term visitors and not for students who are establishing residency. As an international student on a student visa, you are required to obtain a Massachusetts driver’s license if you plan to drive a car.

Please note: As a student, you can be ticketed for not having a proper Massachusetts driver’s license as you are now considered a Massachusetts resident.


applying for a state id

If you do not have a Massachusetts driver’s license, the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) can issue you an official Massachusetts identification card. This ID card does not extend any driving privileges, but is an official form of identity, signature, and age that is accepted in State. The ID is valid for 5 years. To get your State ID, you must bring the following four original documents to the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV):

  • Document proving date of birth (such as a Certificate of Enrollment with DOB from the Registrar’s Office)
  • Document proving signature (such as a passport with visa, or I-20 )
  • Document proving Massachusetts residency (such as a lease or a printed bank statement with your local address)
  • A Social Security Number (SSN) OR an acceptable Denial Notice from the Social Security Administration. If presenting a Denial Notice, you must also bring:
    • Proof of visa status
    • I-94
    • Current non-U.S. Passport

Upon arrival at the RMV, you will fill out a State ID C Application Form (available at the RMV) and pay the application fee (cash, check, or credit card). For more information, visit the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.