License and ID

License and ID

Who Needs a Massachusetts License?

Residents of Massachusetts (MA) are required to have a valid MA license to legally operate a vehicle in MA. Out-of-state or foreign-licensed drivers MUST obtain a MA driver's license upon becoming a MA resident.

Beginning on July 24th, 2016, the "next generation" of driver's licenses and identification (ID) cards will be issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). The new licenses and ID cards are among the most secure and technologically advanced in all of North America and demonstrate our commitment to maintaining the integrity of the Commonwealth's most important identification documents.

New Driver's License

Following are some facts you should know about the new licenses and ID cards:

  • All driver's license and ID cards issued by the RMV will be produced using the new design beginning on July 24th.
  • Your current (non-expired) driver’s license and ID cards will remain acceptable throughout the transition period (approximately five years).

The new driver's license and ID cards have an updated design along with advanced security features that include:

  • Tactile features - raised lettering similar to a credit card
  • Laser technology (making duplication difficult)
  • Distinct and innovative security designs highlighting the history of Massachusetts:
    • Golden Dome of the State House
    • State bird - the Chickadee
    • State flower - the Mayflower
    • Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment

Guide to New License and Identification Card

Photo-Image Licenses/IDs

Massachusetts began issuing Photo Image Licenses in February 1995. The digitized license has increased security for our customers by making it tamper-resistant. This form of licensing also makes it easier and quicker for the RMV to issue replacements and to add endorsements. As another means of protecting yourself and your privacy, Massachusetts uses a state assigned number on all license and ID cards. This randomly assigned number is a nine-digit number starting with the letter "S" and followed by eight numerals. Your photo image license is valid for up to five (5) years and is issued to expire on your birthday. This technology is also used for the Mass and Liquor Identification Cards.

For people who do not have a Massachusetts driver's license, the RMV can issue one of two official identification cards - The Massachusetts ID and Massachusetts Liquor ID. While these two ID's look similar to driver's licenses, they do not extend any driving privileges. These two ID cards are official forms of identity, signature, and age that are accepted in the Commonwealth.

Old License New License
Issued prior to 7/24/2016 Issued on/after 7/24/2016

Different Classes of Licenses

Class A - Any combination of vehicles with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds. (Holders of a Class A license may, with any appropriate endorsements, operate all vehicles within Classes B, C, and D).

Class B - Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR. (Holders of a Class B license may, with any appropriate endorsements, operate all vehicles within Classes B, C, and D).

Class C - Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that does not meet the definition of Class A or Class B, but is either designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or is placarded for hazardous materials. (Holders of a Class C license may, with any appropriate endorsements, operate all vehicles within Classes C and D).

Class D - Any single passenger vehicle or combination, except a semi-trailer unit, truck-trailer combination, tractor, or truck with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) over 26,000 lbs., bus or school bus.

Class M - A motorcycle or any other motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the rider and designed to travel with no more than three wheels in contact with the ground.





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