Lawful Presence Requirement for Registration


Per MGL Chapter 90, Section 2, to complete all registration transactions, with the exception of duplicate registrations and title-only transactions, applicants must present at least one of the following four criteria, unless exempted:

  • A drivers license number; OR
  • A Massachusetts Identification Card number (issued to the applicant under M.G.L. c. 90, Section 8E); OR
  • A Social Security Number (SSN); OR
  • Proof of lawful presence in the U.S. - This may include one or more of the following documents:
    • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) issued by the U.S. Department of State, Form FS-240, DS-1350, or FS-545
    • Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) issued by DHS or INS
    • Unexpired employment authorization document (EAD) issued by DHS, Form I-766, or Form I-688B
    • Unexpired foreign passport with a valid, unexpired U.S. visa affixed accompanied by the approved I-94 form documenting the applicant's most recent admittance into the United States
    • Certificate of Naturalization issued by DHS, Form N-550, or Form N-570
    • Certificate of Citizenship, Form N-560, or Form N-561, issued by DHS

Note 1: If a vehicle has two owners, both owners must meet the above requirements.

Note 2: When registering a vehicle in the name of a sole proprietor with a Federal Identification Number (FID) or Employer Identification Number (EIN), the sole proprietor is required to also provide his/her SSN on the registration application. If the sole proprietor does not have an SSN, he/she must re-register and re-title all vehicles in his/her individual name and meet the above requirements.


The following groups of people are exempt from the lawful presence requirement and do not need to provide any of the documents listed above:

  • Nonresident Student - A nonresident enrolled as a student at a school or college in Massachusetts who attends school during any period from September 1st of any year to August 31st of the following year and who has a temporary residential address in Massachusetts while attending such school.
  • Military Personnel - A person who is an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States whose permanent home is in another state, who is assigned to a base or facility in Massachusetts, and who has a temporary residential address in Massachusetts.
  • Senior citizen - A person who is at least 65 years of age and who is a resident of Massachusetts.
  • Disabled person - A person of any age who is a resident of Massachusetts and who meets the definition of a disabled person who would qualify for a handicapped placard or HP plates under Massachusetts law.

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