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Frequently Asked Questions - Massachusetts Teen Driver

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor vehicles (RMV) requires applicants to provide one document from each list to prove date of birth, signature and proof of residency. In addition, you must provide a verifiable Social Security number or a denial notice issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) not more than 60 days old along with a current visa, I-94 documents and valid non-U.S. passport.

Proof of Date of Birth
• United States or non-U.S. passport with photo (foreign passport must contain visa and I-94)
• Current Massachusetts learner’s permit, license or identification card
• Expired Massachusetts license or identification card
• Out-of-state license with photo and date of birth issued by a state, U.S. territory, Washington D.C., province of Canada, a state of Mexico or the Federal District of Mexico City
• Original birth certificated issued in the United States or U.S. territory or certified copy issued by a Bureau of Vital Statistics or state Board of Health within the United States
• Original foreign birth certificate certified by the agency that issued it (must be translated if not in English)
• Certified copy of court order issued by a country, state or federal agency that contains the applicant’s full name and date of birth
• United States military discharge papers (DD-214) with date of birth
• United States Coast Guard Merchant Mariner card with photo and date of birth
• Original or certified copy of United States marriage certificate with date of birth listed
• Original or certified copy of baptismal certificate (original certificate must have been issued within one year from the applicant’s birth by a church in the United States containing applicant’s date of birth
• Original letter issued and signed by a principal, headmaster or official school record keeper showing applicant’s name and date of birth (must be on school letterhead)
• United States military or military dependent identification with photo and date of birth
• Massachusetts firearms card with photo and date of birth

Proof of Signature
• United States passport, non-U.S. passport or passport card with photo (foreign passport must contain visa and I-94)
• United States Coast Guard Merchant Mariner card with signature and photo
• Current Massachusetts learner’s permit, license or identification card
• Expired Massachusetts driver’s license or identification card
• Out-of-state license with photo and date of birth issued by a state, U.S. territory, Washington D.C., province of Canada, a state of Mexico or the Federal District of Mexico City
• Loan or lease contract with name and signature
• United States military discharge papers (DD-214) with signature
• Canceled personal check with signature and preprinted residential address visible
• Original of certified copy of United States issued marriage certificate
• Current or expired identification with photo and signature issued by a United States agency, the District of Columbia, a municipality, territory or possession of the United States, province of Canada, a state of Mexico or the Federal District of Mexico City
• United States military or military dependent identification with photo and signature
• Selective Service Card with name and signature
• Social Security card
• Massachusetts firearms card with photo and signature

Official United States Immigration Documents (photocopies and expired documents will not be accepted)
• Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550, N-570 or N-578)
• Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-560, N-561 or N-645)
• United States Citizen Identification Card (Form I-179 or I-197)
• Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551)
• Temporary Resident Identification Card (Form I-688)
• Valid foreign passport with I-94 record of departure
• Foreign passport with “Processed for I-551” stamp
• United States Permanent Resident Re-entry Permit (Form I-327)
• United States Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571)
• Employment Authorization Card (Form I-688B or I-766)
• Other documents issued by the U.S. Department of State, Department of Justice or Department of Homeland Security may be acceptable

Proof of Massachusetts Residency
• Current Massachusetts learner’s permit, license or identification card
• Expired Massachusetts driver’s license or identification card (expired less than 12 months)
• Certified copy of court order issued by a country, state or federal agency that contains the applicant’s full name and date of birth
• Home mortgage or lease or loan contracts with name, signature and residential address (dated within 12 months of application)
• Current homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy with residential address (for current or immediate prior year)
• Bank passbook with name and residential address or bank statement (not more than 60 days old) or checkbook with pre-printed name and residential address or ATM/debit card statement with name and residential address (not more than 60 days old)
• Canceled personal check with signature and preprinted residential address visible dated less than 60 days earlier
• Original or certified copy of United States issued marriage certificated (dated within six months of application)
• Utility bill with applicant’s name and residential address (not more than 60 days old)
• Massachusetts registration card (must be current)
• Property tax or excise tax bill with name and residential address (for current or immediate prior year)
• School transcript with name and residential address (not more than 12 months old)
• Original letter issued and signed by a principal, headmaster or official school record keeper showing applicant’s name and date of birth (must be on school letterhead)
• Medicaid correspondence (dated within six months of the application)
• Credit report issued by Equifax, Experian or TransUnion (dated within 12 months of application)
• Annual retirement statement (for current or immediate prior year)
• Social Security States (for current or immediate prior year)
• First-class mail from a state or federal agency (with residential address visible)
• W-2 from current or previous year (with residential address visible)
• Bill from credit card, cell phone provider, hospital or doctor (issued within the past 60 days)
• Voter registration signed and certified by city or town clerk
• Pre-printed paystub with employer’s name, address and applicant’s name and residential address (not more than 60 days old)
• Auto payment book (with residential address visible)
• Auto insurance policy (not more than 60 days old)
• Summons for jury duty (dated within 12 months of application)
• Census verification (must be for current year)
• Massachusetts firearms card with photo, residential address, date or birth and signature (expired less than 12 months)
• Notarized statement from a parent or legal guardian attesting that the applicant currently resident in their home (for applicants between the ages of 18 and 21)

What documents must I fill out at the DMV to get my permit/driver’s license?
The Massachusetts RMV requires all applicants to provide a list of every state they have been licensed in for the previous ten years. The RMV computer system will check with the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS) to find out if your license has been suspended or revoked.

Once I get my permit, what do I need to do before I can drive with my parents?
You must log at least 40 hours of practice driving with your parent, legal guardian or a licensed driver who is 21 years or older and has at least one year of driving experience. The practice hours can be reduced to 30 if you successfully complete an advanced training or driver skills development program.

The State of Massachusetts has the following restrictions:

Learner’s Permit—Under Age 18
You may not operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 12:00 and 5 am unless accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or a licensed driver over age 21 who has at least one year of driving experience.

Junior Operator License
Passenger Restriction—You are prohibited from carrying passengers under the age of 18 for the first six months unless:

• The passenger is a member of your immediate family.
• You are accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or licensed driver over 21 who has at least one year of driving experience.

Time Restriction—You are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle between 12:30 and 5 am unless accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or a licensed driver over age 21 who has at least one year of driving experience.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has the following requirements for obtaining a learner’s permit:

• You must be at least 16 years old.
• You must be able to pass a written exam and vision test.
• Your parent, legal guardian, social worker or a boarding school headmaster must sign the application.
• You must pay a fee of $30 to take the written test.

Permits are valid for a period of two years and you must carry the permit with you at all times when driving.

You must successfully complete a driver’s education and training program approved by the Registrar that includes the following:

• 30 hours of classroom instruction
• 12 hours of behind-the-wheel training
• 6 hours in a motor vehicle observing another student driver
• 2 hours of classroom instruction with your parent or legal guardian present

Auto insurance companies in Massachusetts offer a 10 percent discount to teen driver’s who complete a state-approved driver’s education course.

The State of Massachusetts requires drivers to pass the following tests:

Written Knowledge Test
• The written exam consists of 25 multiple-choice questions about Massachusetts traffic laws, signs and the rules of the road. You must correctly answer at least 18 questions in order to pass the test.

Vision Screening Exam
• You must be able to pass the vision-screening exam with a visual acuity of 20/40 or better in either eye, with or without using corrective lenses and at least 120 degrees of horizontal peripheral vision in both eyes. Drivers with a visual acuity between 20/50 and 20/70 in either eye will only be eligible for a “daylight-only” license.

There are no specific restrictions for new drivers, however anyone under the age of 18 is prohibited from using a cell phone when operating a motor vehicle.

To obtain a Junior Operator’s License (JOL), you must meet the following requirements:

• You are between the ages of 16 and a half and 18 years old.
• You must have held a learner’s permit for at least six months.
• You must be able to pass a road skills test.
• You must have completed an approved driver’s education program.
• You must have a clean driving record for a minimum of six consecutive months prior to taking the road skills test.

A clean driving records means that you have not been charged with a moving violation, found to be at fault for an auto accident or had your learner’s permit suspended for alcohol or drug related convictions.

Before applying for a learner’s permit, you should study the Massachusetts Driver’s Manual, which covers the following topics:

• Chapter One—Obtaining Your License
• Chapter Two—Keeping Your License
• Chapter Three—Safety First
• Chapter Four—Rules of the Road
• Chapter Five—Special Driving Situations
• Chapter Six—Owning a Vehicle

The manual is available at each Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) branch or online at the RMV website.