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Get A Driver’s License in Massachusetts (A Complete 2022 Guide)

Get A Driver’s License in Massachusetts (A Complete Guide)

Are you planning on getting your first driver’s license in Massachusetts?

Exciting!

But, there’s one problem…

You have no idea where to begin. 

Or how to continue the process for that matter. 

We’re here to help. 

Today, we’re going to give you a complete guide on how to get a driver’s license in Massachusetts. We’ll detail all the steps, requirements, and everything in between. 

This way, you’ll know exactly what needs to be done. 

So are you ready?

Let’s dive right in!

Massachusetts Driver’s License Requirements

To gradually prepare you for the task and responsibility of driving, Massachusetts has a Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) program. 

In this program, you need to go through 3 license types, namely: 

  • Learner’s Permit
  • Junior Operator License (JOL)
  • Full Driver’s License

Let’s break them down one by one. 

How to Get A Learner’s Permit in Massachusetts

First things first — you need to get your learner’s permit. 

In Massachusetts, you can begin working on it once you turn 16. However, even if you’re 18 or older, you still need to get a permit if you’re applying for a first-time license.

Now, here are the steps to getting a learner’s permit in Massachusetts: 

  1. Choose between a standard permit and a REAL ID permit. Decide which one you want. 

NOTE: Click here for more information if you’re unsure which one you need.

  1. Complete your learner’s permit application online by going to Mass.gov’s online portal. Don’t forget to print out the form.

NOTE: You can fill out the application form when you visit an RMV Service Center. However, doing it online is an excellent time-saver. 

  1. Make a reservation to visit an RMV Service Center. 
  1. During your visit, submit the necessary documents. These include the following:
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship or lawful presence
  • Proof of residency in Massachusetts (2 proofs are required if getting a REAL ID permit) 
  • Proof of Social Security Number
  • Completed application form 

NOTE: Click here to see what documents you can use.

  1. If you are below 18 years old, bring a parent or legal guardian to give written consent for you to receive your permit. 

NOTE: You must present documentation if the person giving consent is your legal guardian. Proof of authority is necessary if it comes from the Department of Children and Families or your boarding school’s headmaster. However, you can skip this step if you’re married or emancipated.

  1. Pass the vision screening.
  1. Have your photo and signature taken.
  1. Pass the written exam.

NOTE: You have the option to complete the test online. If you prefer this method, you will receive login credentials and instructions after submitting your documents at an RMV Service Center.

  1. Pay the $30 permit fee.

Now you have your learner’s permit. 

Remember, your permit remains valid for two years, so make sure you use your time wisely. You can practice driving as long as a licensed driver supervises you. 

How to Get A Junior Operator License in Massachusetts

The next step is moving from a learner’s permit to a Junior Operator License, also known as JOL. 

However, before you can move on, you need to meet all the requirements.

Read through this list and see which boxes you can check off:

  • You’ve had your learner’s permit for 6 months or longer
  • You’ve kept your driving record clean for at least 6 months before taking your road test
  • You’ve completed an approved driver’s education which includes 30 hours of classroom instruction, 12 hours of behind-the-wheel training, and 6 hours of observation.
  • You’ve completed the 40 required hours of supervised driving. Your parent/guardian must fill up and sign the Supervised Driving Log. 

If you checked off all four boxes, here’s what you should do next:

  1. Go to the Mass.gov online service portal and schedule your road test.
  1. Pay the $35 application and road test fee. You can do this online. 
  1. Bring the following to your road test:
  • Your valid learner’s permit
  • A completed Road Test Application with the parent/guardian section filled out and signed (you can also get this application when you schedule a road test online).
  • A licensed sponsor (must be at least 21 with at least a year of driving experience)
  • A registered and insured vehicle
  1. Pass the road test.

NOTE: You can schedule another road test if you don’t pass on your first try. However, you are only allowed six attempts a year.

  1. Have your learner’s permit stamped as a temporary JOL.

NOTE: Your learner’s permit serves as a temporary Junior Operator License as soon as your examiner stamps it at the back. Your official credential will arrive by mail within four weeks.

With a Junior Operator License, you’re allowed more freedom on the road. However, there are still restrictions that you need to follow. These include the following:

  • You cannot drive from midnight to 5:00 am unless your parent or legal guardian is with you
  • You cannot have any passengers below 18 unless:
    • The passenger is an immediate family member 
    • A licensed driver who’s at least 21 supervises you and sits in the front passenger seat
  • You cannot use a mobile device unless during an emergency

And just like that, you’re almost a fully licensed driver in Massachusetts. 

How to Get Your Full Driver’s License in Massachusetts

If you already have a JOL, the only thing to do is wait until you turn 18 years old. Your Junior Operator License becomes a Full Driver’s License at that time, and the RMV lifts all restrictions.

However, if you’re already 18+ and are a first-time license applicant, here’s what you should do:

  1. Get a learner’s permit (see steps above). 

NOTE: unlike teens below 18 years old, you don’t have to wait 6 months before you can schedule a road test. The same is true with the other requirements, such as completing a driver’s ed and a driving log. 

  1. Schedule a road test with the RMV.
  1. Pay the $35 application and road test fee online. 
  1. Bring the required documents to your road test:
    1. Your valid learner’s permit 
    2. A completed Road Test Application form. You can also get this online. 
    3. A licensed sponsor (must be at least 21 with at least a year of driving experience)
    4. A registered and insured vehicle
  1. Pass the road test. 
  1. Have your learner’s permit stamped. 

NOTE: Your stamped learner’s permit serves as your temporary license. The official one will arrive within four weeks.

And congratulations! 

You’ve finished the entire process.

You’re now a fully licensed driver in Massachusetts. 

FAQs

Have any questions? Then let’s answer some of the most frequently asked ones about driver’s licenses in Massachusetts. 

How long does it take to get a driver’s license in Massachusetts?

The timeline is different for everyone, but generally, you can get a Junior Operator License in less than 7 months. After that, it’ll become a full driver’s license when you turn 18.

However, some factors may lengthen your timeline. These include:

  • Maxing out your permit’s validity (two years)
  • Needing to retake your road test multiple times
  • Receiving a violation with your learner’s permit or JOL

How much does it cost to get a driver’s license in Massachusetts? 

You’ll spend an average of $650 to $750 while working on your driver’s license.

Although the fees remain constant (until the state changes them), the cost of a driver’s education program varies between providers. 

On average, it costs between $600 and $700. This amount covers the following:

  • Classroom instruction (30 hours)
  • Behind-the-wheel training (12 hours)
  • Observation (6 hours)
  • Parent course (2 hours)

Is the Massachusetts road test hard?

The road test can be challenging, so you must use the 6 months between getting your permit and scheduling your road test wisely. 

Be prepared to demonstrate some driving maneuvers, such as:

  • Accelerating and braking
  • Parallel parking
  • Left, right, and three-point turns
  • Entering and exiting intersections
  • Yielding the right of way to vehicles and pedestrians
  • Following traffic signs and signals

Is the Massachusetts permit test hard? 

The permit test consists of 25 questions. These focus on driving laws, road rules, safe driving practices, and the like.

To pass, you must answer 18 questions correctly.

Can I drive immediately after passing my test in Massachusetts?

As soon as you pass your road test, the examiner stamps the back of your learner’s permit. That can be used for your temporary license while waiting for your official credentials to arrive by mail.

You can begin driving unsupervised afterward. However, remember that, if you are still holding a JOL, there are restrictions on your driving privileges until you turn 18.

Can a non-US citizen get a driver’s license in Massachusetts?

Yes. However, you must show proof of lawful presence in the U.S.

The Wrap Up

Driving in Massachusetts is a privilege — that’s why getting your license involves several stages.

However, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. You won’t run into too many challenges as long as you keep the steps we outlined.

Remember, work on things one at a time. First, it’s getting your learner’s permit, then your Junior Operating License. Lastly, it’s getting unrestricted driving privileges.

We’re sure you’ll do great. 

Good luck!

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