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Drivers Licenses and State IDs

Obtaining a Massachusetts driver's license may be useful even if you do not plan to drive while in the US. A license can be used as proof of identity for everyday purposes instead of a passport. Alternatively, you can apply for a Massachusetts state ID card (called 'MassID'), which does not allow driving but also serves as an official proof of identity. Both driver's licenses and state IDs are issued by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, or RMV.

Effective July 1, 2023 applicants for a standard drivers license in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are no longer required to show evidence of legal immigration status as a condition of obtaining standard driving privileges. Please refer to the RMV's site on the Work and Family Mobility Act regarding the removal of immigration status as requirement. Other evidentiary requirements, including proof of identity and proof of residence in Massachusetts, still apply. In addition, it may be possible to enjoy driving privileges on the basis of your foreign driving license.

Registry of Motor Vehicle (RMV) Procedures and Locations

In general, any driver's license and ID card processes must be started online and finished in person at an RMV office. Do not go to the RMV office without first visiting the RMV web site. Once you are ready, you can find the nearest RMV service center on the RMV web site or To find the RMV office nearest you, or click on the links below.

Owning a Car

The International Center does not recommend purchasing a car unless you plan to live in Massachusetts for an extended period of time or if you do not have convenient public transportation options. If you do purchase and own a car, you should keep in mind the following considerations:

  • Required car insurance and car title and registration fees
  • Annual car inspection and local car (excise) taxes
  • Potential car repairs
  • Purchasing snow tires and driving safely in snowy and wintery conditions
  • Traffic and congestion
  • Parking fees and restrictions (learn more about parking at Tufts)

To learn more about buying and owning a car in the US, consult this useful resource.

Driving Laws and Immigration

It is extremely important for international students, scholars, and employees to understand and comply with all requirements for driving responsibly while in the US. In particular, you should be especially aware of the consequences of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or other intoxicants. A DUI arrest or conviction may lead to revocation of your visa as well as other extremely serious legal consequences. If you are subject to arrest or conviction due for driving under the influence or as a result of another serious driving violation, we encourage you to consult with the International Center and a qualified immigration and/or criminal attorney to assist you.