Bought a car and need to register it in Massachusetts?
Or maybe your car registration is about to expire and you need to renew it.
Whatever the case, we have the steps and requirements to complete just that.
Here, we’re going to give you a guide to Massachusetts vehicle registration, whether that’s for new registrants or those renewing.
Plus, we’ll also walk you through the vehicle laws in the state.
With this, you’ll know everything you need to know.
So are you ready?
How to Register a Car in Massachusetts
In most cases, you’re either buying a car from a dealer or an individual. The requirements may change, but the process is similar.
For those who are buying from a dealer, you need to prepare:
- A completed Registration and Title Application
- Proof of insurance
- Proof of ownership
- Correct payment
- Valid Massachusetts driver’s license
- Social Security Card
- Proof of lawful presence in the United States.
Check the valid documents here.
If you are buying from an individual, you need to bring 2 additional documents:
- The previous owner’s Certificate of Title or previous owner’s Vehicle Registration
- Bill of Sale for the vehicle
You may not have all the documents now, and that’s okay.
Just follow these steps to complete the documents and get your vehicle registered:
- If you’re buying from a dealer, ask them to complete a Registration and Title Application.
- Go to a licensed Massachusetts auto insurance agent and get an insurance policy meeting the state’s minimum insurance requirements (see below).
- Ask the insurance agent, the dealer, or the previous owner to sign the application with you.
- Visit an RMV Service Center (call the nearest office and verify if they do vehicle registrations) and bring all the documents required.
- Pass all your documents.
- Pay the applicable fees:
- For vehicles bought from a dealer: a 6.25% sales tax based on the price of the vehicle
- For vehicles bought from an individual: a 6.25% sales tax based on the price of the vehicle or the National Automotive Dealer Association trade-in-value (whichever is higher)
- For vehicles bought out-of-state: a 6.25% sales tax based on the price you paid
- Pay the registration and title fee. The registration fee will depend on the type of license plate, while the title fee is $75.
- Receive a Registration Certificate and your new license plates.
And you’ve registered your vehicle!
After you register your vehicle, you’re required to go through a vehicle inspection within 7 days.
Check this page for a list of inspection stations and registered emissions repair facilities.
If your vehicle passes the inspections, you will be given an inspection sticker that you need to place on your license plates.
How to Renew A Car Registration in Massachusetts
The RMV sends a notice for vehicle registration renewal about 6-8 weeks before the expiry date. This notice will also give you an idea if you are allowed to renew online, by mail, or in person.
If you don’t receive any notice, you can start your application by filling up this registration renewal form.
How to Renew A Massachusetts Vehicle Registration Online
Renewing your vehicle registration online is very easy. You only need to:
- Prepare the following:
- Driver’s license number
- Social Security Number
- Applicable fee
- Click ‘Renew My Registration’
- Fill up the fields and click ‘Submit’.
- Select the license plate type.
- Pay the renewal fee. The fee depends on the type of license plate.
And you’re done!
How to Renew A Massachusetts Vehicle Registration by Mail
You can skip the lines at the RMV by renewing your vehicle registration by mail.
If you are eligible, you will be given a copy of a renewal form along with your notice of renewal.
From there, this is how to complete the mail renewal process:
- Verify that all details on your application are correct.
- If there are changes or wrong information, put an “X” on the fields on the application that needs to be changed.
- Complete the renewal form
- Ask your registered insurance agent to put a stamp on the form and sign it.
- Prepare the payment (based on your type of license plate). Checks or money orders are only allowed.
- Mail the renewal application and the payment to this address:
Mail-In Registration / Data Scan
Registry of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 55891
Boston, MA 02205-5891
All you have to do now is wait for it to be processed!
Once done, your new license plates will be mailed to you.
How to Renew A Massachusetts Vehicle Registration In Person
Renewing in person may seem like an inconvenience. However, it only takes a few steps:
- Fill up the renewal form included in your notice.
- Visit your local RMV office and bring the following:
- Registration that is about to expire
- Renewal form
- Driver’s license
- Any valid identification document
- Submit all your documents.
- Pay the renewal fee.
You will be issued your new stickers after it’s processed.
It’s that easy.
Vehicle Laws in Massachusetts
As promised, we’re going to talk about the vehicle laws that you need to know involving registration in Massachusetts.
Registration Transfer Law
The Registration Transfer Law, more commonly known as the ‘7-Day Transfer Law’, states that…
“You need to transfer your vehicle registration from the old vehicle to your new one within 7 calendar days.”
Moreover, in this 7-day grace period, you are allowed to use your old vehicle’s license plates on your new vehicle.
Take note, though, that if you’re planning to keep your old vehicle, this law doesn’t apply and you have to register the new vehicle separately.
Registration for New Resident Law
This New Resident Law requests that…
“All new residents of Massachusetts are required to register their vehicle immediately once they become official residents of the state.”
Unfortunately, there is no grace period for this registration.
If you want to register your vehicle right away, follow the steps outlined in the first part of this post.
Registration for Nonresident Law
There are cases when a non-resident of Massachusetts is required to register their vehicle there. These are:
- When they have a Massachusetts business and they have vehicles used in those businesses
- If a Massachusetts resident controls or operates the vehicle of a non-resident for more than 30 calendar days
- If applying for a dual registration for vehicles or trailers
Auto Insurance Law
As you already know by now, auto insurance is required for all motor vehicles operating in Massachusetts. Auto insurance is also a requirement before you can fully register your vehicle.
Now, there are four coverages required by Massachusetts law:
- Bodily Injury to Others – at least $20,000 per person and $40,000 for more than one person
- Bodily Injury caused by Uninsured Auto – at least $20,00 per person and at least $40,00 for all persons injured
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – at least $8,000
- Property Damage – at least $5,000
From registering your vehicle to renewal, we’ve covered all you need to know if you own a vehicle and want to drive in Massachusetts.
Remember, you’re required to have your vehicle registered before you can go around and drive in the state.
For a hassle-free and easy application process, just follow the steps and requirements mentioned here.