Massachusetts RMV

Boston RMV Moving from Chinatown to Haymarket

The Boston RMV is moving, according to transportation officials. The Boston branch, currently located in Chinatown will be moving to a space in Haymarket located above what will be an indoor food market in an office building to be completed next year. It will replace the Chinatown branch and serve as the “flagship” for Massachusetts RMVs.


Take Your Best License Picture Yet!


Taking your license picture is one of those things that no one really enjoys.  The line is always too long and the other people there are usually not the most pleasant.  Finally, after your number is called you are hurried in and out while you pose under bright fluorescent lights for a picture that they usually take before you even know what hit you.  All of these factors can add up to a less than flattering picture that you’re stuck with for years.
Who wants to have a license picture where they are not looking their best?  To avoid a picture that looks more like a mug shot, follow these tips to make sure you are looking your best and ready for the camera.
  • Dress to impress!  Even though your license picture is only from the shoulders up, wearing an outfit you know you look good in will boost your confidence and give you an edge when you pose for the camera.  Try to wear either a bright or neutral shirt; pastels can give you a washed out effect, especially under fluorescent lights.
  • Don’t overdo your make up!  The fluorescent lighting is so bright and will lighten the appearance of your skin, so especially dark make up will appear even more dramatic.
  • Flash those pearly whites!  Personally, I have seen many licenses where people don’t even smile!  This is an especially important tip when it comes to avoiding the “mug shot” effect.  If you really want to be an overachiever, whiten your teeth in advance to brighten up your smile.  When it comes time for the picture, think of something happy that always makes you smile.  Ask the RMV worker to count to three, that way you will know exactly when the picture is being taken.  If you wait right until the count of three to smile, it will look more genuine and less forced.
  • When it comes to your hair, keep it natural, wear it the way you normally would so that you know it looks good.  Definitely don’t get a new haircut the day before you renew your license in case you are not totally satisfied with your new ‘do.
  • Avoid trendy looks.  You don’t want your past fashion faux pas sticking around to haunt you! Styles will come and go but this picture will be around for years! Stick with basic make up and a hair style that you could have at any age.  Don’t choose that day to test out your new lipstick or hair accessory that you just picked out.
  • Go out of your way to be nice to the RMV staff!  They are the ones taking your picture so if you get on their good side by asking how their day is it will go a long way.  They might also take the extra time to give you a second shot if you don’t like your original picture!
  • When it comes time to pose, remember to smile and lift up your chin.  A head-on picture is not the best angle of everyone so keep your face forward and try to turn your shoulders a bit to make them look less broad.

Follow these tips and your license picture will come out better than ever!  It can be a challenge capturing the perfect picture at the RMV, but these suggestions will set you on your way to a picture that you won’t be embarrassed to show every time you’re asked for your ID.

Photo By: OregonDOT

What You Need to Do to Renew Your Massachusetts License

Renewing your license? It’s never been easier!  Read up on some of the info you need to know for drivers license renewal in Massachusetts.

The Basics:


  • Your Massachusetts license is valid for 5 years and expires on your birthday.
  • You may renew your license up to one year prior to the expiration date.
  • The fee to renew a Class D driver’s license is $50.
  • Your temporary license is valid for 30 days but can not be used as a valid form of identification.
  • You can not renew your Mass. license at all if you have outstanding obligations or violations that have not been paid.
  • If you attempt to renew your license online you will be denied and given a list of your outstanding obligations and told how to resolve them before you visit an RMV branch and complete the renewal process.
  • Examples of outstanding obligations include unpaid parking, excise, or abandoned vehicle tickets,  fast lane violations, an outstanding warrant, or outstanding child support payments.
With online applications and express service lanes, Mass drivers can save valuable time at the RMV.  To renew online, you must first complete a questionnaire to determine eligibility. If you are able to renew online, you simply pay the $50 fee and your new license will be mailed to you in 7-10 days.  If you are not eligible, you can complete the application, print it and sign it, then bring it to any RMV branch for renewal. Examples of situations where you would not be eligible to renew online would be if you are over the age of 75, or if you are a Veteran and would like the Veteran’s indicator on your license, you must go into a branch as this can not be added during an online transaction.Don’t forget to check your license expiration date!  Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to renew your license before it expires.  The RMV no longer mails out renewal notices so make sure to go in at least 7 days before your current license expires so that you can receive your new license on time.  The only exception to this applies to drivers that are turning 21.  If you renew your license before you turn 21, you will be issued a vertical license that reads “under 21”.  If you go in on or after your 21st birthday you will be issued the standard horizontal license.

For more information on renewing your license in MA, visit the Massachusetts RMV website or call (617) 351-4500.  You can find RMV branch locations here.

Photo By: sixninepixels

Holiday Travel Tips

Holiday Travel in MA

The holidays! What’s not to love? There’s great music, pretty lights, parties aplenty and, if you’re lucky, a great gift waiting for you under some adorable holiday-themed paper. The holiday season does come its share of challenges amongst the joy, and one of my least favorites is holiday travel in Massachusetts and its surroundings, and all the traffic that goes along with it.

Like any good journey,  the holiday travel season requires some thinking ahead and preparation. Make sure you’re prepared to hit the road with these Massachusetts holiday travel and safety tips.

Be Mindful of Massachusetts Law

  • In the state of Massachusetts, all occupants of your vehicle are required to wear seat belts. Make sure you have a seat and working belt for every passenger and yourself when traveling this holiday.
  • The speed limit on most Massachusetts highways is 65mph, however, some can be as low as 55mph. Leave with plenty of time to get where you’re going this holiday season and pay attention to the speed limit – nothing says “Bah Humbug!” like shelling out for a speeding ticket.
  • If you hit any rotaries on your journey, remember to yield to those already in the rotary when entering and always enter to the right.
  • Texting while driving has been banned in Massachusetts. Let it wait until you get there or you could face $100-$500 in fines, depending on whether it is your first offense. This applies to when you’re stopped at red lights. Again, nothing says “Bah Humbug!” like a hefty ticket. Or a crash, for that matter.

Be Ready for the Road

  • Sign up to get a free FAST LANE transponder and cruise through the tolls on the Turnpike, the Sumner and Ted Williams Tunnels, and the Tobin Memorial Bridge on the way to Grandma’s. If you’re heading out of state, your FAST LANE transponder can be used anywhere E-ZPass is accepted.
  • New England weather is unpredictable, so make sure you’ve winterized your car. Snow tires, an ice scraper, and perhaps a foldable shovel will keep you safe on wintery roads.
  • With a lot of people on the road, wintery conditions and the stress of the holidays, anything can happen. Make sure you’re covered with auto insurance.

Have Fun! But Not Too Much Fun…

  • Turn up the Christmas music while you travel! Most stations will play Christmas music mixed in with their standards, but there are a few stations that play strictly holiday themed music. In Massachusetts, Oldies 103.3 and 105.7 WROR play Christmas music round the clock, and WROR has an adorable segment where kids can call into Santa.
  • Plan ahead if you plan on drinking, and make sure have a designated driver for when you need to get home. The legal limit is a blood-alcohol content under .08. Drunk driving increases over the holidays, and Massachusetts police will be on the lookout for drunk drivers. Not only does driving under the influence put you in danger of getting arrested, it puts everyone you pass on the road in danger. Err on the side of safety and avoid a drunk driving accident by making sure you have a sober ride home.

Regardless of what you’re celebrating or where you are celebrating, we wish you safe and easy travel and a very happy holiday season!

Photo by freakapotimus

Massachusetts License Plate Lottery Open!

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation begun accepting application for the 2010 Low Number License Plate Lottery yesterday. Those who enter their names into the drawing are hoping for 179 of the most sought after Massachusetts license plates including: R12, F17 and 55A.

“Every year the plate lottery generates thousands of applicants because all drivers have an equal shot at winning one of these coveted plates… Last year more than six thousand people participated and this year we expect even greater interest.”

– Registrar Rachel Kaprielian.

Applications for the license plate lottery are available in all RMV branches and online at: To be accepted all applications must be postmarked no later than August 9th 2010. Postcard entries, as indicated by MassDOT, will not be accepted. Those who have won the lottery and do not register their vehicles by December 31, 2010 will forfeit their license plates and will be offered to a list of 25 alternative winners who will be chosen during the main drawing.

The lottery winners will be announced at a live drawing at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum Saturday August 28th at 11:00 am. Admission to the museum and the current “Curve Appeal” exhibit will be free to all applicants. For official drawing details and a complete list of the plates up for drawing visit: Lottery winners will be posted on the RMV website Monday, August 30th.

Massachusetts License Security Lock Down

Brand new Massachusetts driver’s license and ID’s have been released today with increased security features. The new cards have been put into production this week as new drivers and license renewals come through the RMV. The added security measures will help with law enforcement, banks, retailers and liquor establishments in validating the cards.The new license styles include an outline of Massachusetts that gleams when held to light. The old licenses were secured by ghost images of the driver’s picture, a kinegram or metalized optical device and ultraviolet-sensitive inks.

he Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has also required the manufacturer to set up a facility in Massachusetts for quicker delivery and to set up new jobs, the first time in over a decade they were manufactured locally.

Current driver’s licenses, identification cards, commercial driver’s licenses, junior operator and under 21 licenses will remain valid until their next renewal date. The Massachusetts registry expects to distribute approximately 1.4 million of the new cards to customers over the next year. The new licenses will be phased in over the next five years as drivers are required to renew their licenses.

VIP at the RMV

New Drivers & Those Transfering to a Massachusetts License Make Appointments Online Avoiding the RMV Wait

The mere idea of visiting the RMV is a dreary nightmare to many: taking a number, filling out paper work, waiting, and waiting… and waiting. The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has recognized your impatience and frustration of visiting a branch in creating numerous opportunities for drivers to complete transactions and other. For a number of drivers who are still required to visit a branch, the RMV has made the visit an even less stressful process.

The registry is working on creating additional web functions for new drivers and new Massachusetts residents to set meeting times to process paperwork without the wait. The RMV tested a pilot program at its Springfield branch for the past few  months, and with its success will now make the service available statewide. During the pilot a total of 89 customers scheduled appointments.

The Massachusetts RMV website holds an interactive guide that will walk applicants through the process and notify the driver of required documents that will be needed at the meeting to verify identity and residency.

Reduced RMV Lines!

The PatrickMurray Administration has moved forward in an effort to make transportation agencies more accountable and strengthen customer service. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) introduced two new RMV initiatives this month that will encourage saving time for driver’s visits to the RMV to cancel a vehicle registration.

An average of 45,000 customers visit an RMV branch to cancel their vehicle registration a month. Prior to the new implementations drivers would have to wait in line at a branch to turn in their plates and receive a proof of cancellation. Today massDOT posted two additional options to cancel a vehicle’s registration:

  • Option 1: Visit the RMV’s online branch at to verify plate cancellation. The customer will be instructed to destroy or recycle their license plates and need not visit a branch to return them.
  • Option 2: Under a pilot program available in the Watertown branch and expanded to Wilmington, Worcester and Plymouth by the end of the month, customers will be able to return their plates using a touch-screen kiosk in the branch lobby without waiting in line. Customers will use the touch-screen kiosk to print their own cancellation notices and deposit their canceled plates into the kiosk.

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has made a large move encouraging drivers to use the online website by offering additional services through the RMV website. Drivers applying for a new license or converting an out-of-state license may fill out the majority of the paperwork online and be ready to complete the transaction in a branch, decreasing the amount of time spent in the branch itself. Other online services offered by the RMV include: license and registration renewals, ordering a Fast Lane transponder, driving record and crash police reports, reviewing a registration, title or lien, and signing up to become an organ and tissue donor.

Online plate cancellation was added to website last month as a soft launch.  Thus far the online cancellation has been used by 3,230 customers. Although this service is only a small portion of RMV operations, programmers are looking adding other simple service transactions to self-help kiosks such as paying tickets or citations.

Driver's License Renewals

Does it seem like the RMV is the only place that makes you work a little extra on your birthday? The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles is looking to make your renewal processes easier. As opposed to standing in line at the RMV every four or five years, every other renewal period you may renew your license online! In an effort to save on expenses the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles no longer sends reminder mailings to renew your driver’s license. Be sure to keep a careful eye on your license expiration date.

A Massachusetts driver’s license is valid up to five years from issue date and will expire on your birthday. You may renew your drivers license up to a year before the expiration date. However if you’re more of a procrastinator, the RMV recommends renewing driver’s license at least seven days before expiration. Thus allowing enough time to receive your new license in the mail before your current license expires.

Also be prepared to pay a renewal fee. The Massachusetts government charges $25 for an amendment or duplicate licensing and $75 for the renewal of a Class A, B, or C license. For more information on the Massachusetts licensing charges visit the RVM fees page where renewals, registration, and title transfer fees are listed.

However it is important to remember you may not renew your license online if you:

  • have a license photo that was taken before age 21
  • have a license photo that was taken more than nine years ago
  • hold a commercial driver’s license
  • need to legally change your name
  • have filed for a change of address however have not received a confirmation e-mail
  • would like to register to vote
  • do not have a Social Security number

In these cases you will need to visit a local RMV branch to renew and have additional changes made.

Massachusetts Laws On Temporary License Plates

Have you ever noticed a driver in front of you has stuck a pair of home made license plates on their bumper? This may be for numerous reasons from an accident to simply falling off. However if someone drives without a license plate, or one mangled to the extent it is unreadable, you can be sure a ticket for improper display is soon to follow.

Let’s say a driver has just experienced an accident resulting in illegible license plate. The vehicle is fine, only slight cosmetic damage has been done. Our driver has immediately applied for new plates from the RMV, as any driver without a license plate or an illegible plate should do. The plates however will not arrive for another four to six weeks! The driver works across Boston from his home and can not miss work tomorrow, much less for the next four weeks. In the mean time our driver must create a temporary plate. What are the requirements for this make shift license plate? Ann Dufresne gives a few guidelines:

“The legislation says approximate a standard plate as best as you can. There are no specific requirements for size, shape. It just needs to be legible from 60 feet away like a real plate. The hope is that one would use common sense.”

– RMV spokeswoman Ann Dufresne in an e-mail to Peter DeMarco of the Boston Globe

A temporary license plate must be placed in the same spot an official license plate would be located. Meaning the plates should be secured in the center of the rear or front bumper. Keep in mind when a home made license plate is placed on a rear bumper it must be illuminated. Placing temporary plates else, such as in the rear view window, will not legally replace a missing plate and the driver may be ticketed.

Creating a temporary license plate and placing it in the proper location is not enough to avoid a ticket. If you are pulled over with temporary plates you must also keep proof of the license plate application that verifies your plates are in the process of being made and on their way. If you have a question of whether or not a temporary plate will allow you to legally drive the streets, consult your local Registry of Motor Vehicles.

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