Massachusetts driver's license renewal

Renewing Your Massachusetts Driver’s License: The Ultimate Guide

Zutobi
by Zutobi · Updated Sep 30, 2021

In this guide, we’ll go through everything you need to know to make your Massachusetts driver’s license renewal as stress-free as possible. We’ve also added the current special rules during the Covid-19 pandemic.

How Often Do You Need to Renew Your MA License?

Your driver’s license is valid for five years, and you can renew up to a year ahead of time before it expires. If your license has expired for more than two years, you will need to take the written and driving exams over again.

During Covid-19, licenses that expired in the period were extended. While cards will show as expired, the Massachusetts RMV systems will be updated with the new date. You can check your profile and look up your new expiration date on their Service Site.

Where Can You Renew Your Driver’s License?

You can go online or to any Massachusetts RMV Service Center to renew your id. You can renew your license online up to two times in a row if your id picture is less than 14 years old. This means you have to renew in-person at least once every 15 years.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Massachusetts RMV is reducing visits to their centers as much as possible. You can only renew your license:

  • Online on the Official Website
  • In-person at a AAA Autoclub center if you have a membership with them

How to Renew a Massachusetts Driver’s License

We’ll go through the steps to renew your Massachusetts driver’s license in-person and online below.

Renewing Your License in Person

  1. Have your information ready to prove citizenship or lawful presence in the US
  2. If your license has expired for more than two years, prepare to retake the written and driving exams. You can refresh your knowledge with our Massachusetts Handbook and practice tests.
  3. Find your closest RMV Service Center Location. Some centers have a strict no-walk-in policy, so make sure you check hours and make an appointment, if necessary.
  4. Take any required tests, if applicable. You will be required to at least take a vision exam.
  5. Review and change your name, address, and other information if necessary.
  6. Pay the required fees (Listed below).
    • Important Note: Most Limited RMV Service Centers can only take checks and credit cards. Make sure to bring the appropriate method of payment to avoid a second trip.
  7. You will receive a temporary paper license, and you will receive your laminated card in the mail within 15 days.

Renewing Your License Card Online

  1. Have your information ready to prove citizenship or lawful presence in the US.
  2. Visit your Online Service Center and follow the prompts to verify your identity
  3. Choose “Standard Massachusetts Driver’s Licence” and follow the prompts.
  4. Review and Change your address if necessary
  5. Pay Your fees (listed below)
  6. You will receive a temporary paper license, and you will receive your laminated card in the mail within 15 days.

If your license has expired for more than two years or your id is over 14 years old, you will be unable to renew online.

Can I Get a REAL ID?

While the federal government wants ids to be Real ID-compliant by Oct 21, 2021, this requires you to come to the Massachusetts RMV in person. Without a REAL ID, you will not be able to fly or enter government buildings without additional identification.

During the Covid-19 Pandemic – you will receive a standard Driver’s license. You can upgrade to a REAL ID if you need it at no additional cost when they resume Real-Id issuance services.

Frequently Asked Questions About MA License Renewal

Here are a few more important things to know before you renew your license.

What Can Prevent You From Renewing Your Massachusetts Driver’s License?

You can not renew your license if:

  • Your license is suspended or revoked
  • You have unpaid parking tickets, excise tax, or EZ-Pass violations

You will need to pay any tickets or taxes with the city and get a receipt to show they are paid. For EZ-Pass violations, you will need to call customer service at (877)-627-7745 and arrange to pay them in full before you can renew your Massachusetts License.

What if Your License Has Expired?

Normally, you have two years after your license expires to renew it. After that, you have to take the learner’s permit exam and road test over again before you can be reissued a new license. Check out our Summarized Massachusetts DMV manual and practice tests to prepare, there is no easier way to study the road rules!

In addition, licenses that were set to expire between March and August 2020 have been extended. You can check your new status and expiration date on the Online Service Center.

What if You’re Turning 21 Soon?

If you renew before your 21st birthday, you will receive the vertical driver’s license intended for minors with “under 21” written on it. If you wait until you are 21, you will receive the horizontal unrestricted license. 

If you are turning 21 soon, you can save time and updated license fees by waiting to renew until your 21st birthday.

What Documents Do You Need to Bring to the RMV?

Here are a few common items you should have handy to prove your identity. You can find the full list of documents here.

  • A valid, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card
    If your U.S. passport was issued within the last six months, bring your certified copy of your U.S. birth certificate
  • An original or certified version of a U.S. birth certificate that meets the following requirements:
    • Issued by the city, county, or state of birth
    • Lists applicant’s full name, date of birth, and place of birth
    • Lists parent(s)’ full names
    • Has the signature of the city, county, or state registrar
    • Has the date filed with the registrar’s office (must be within one year of birth)
    • Has the seal of issuing authority

What Are the Driver’s License Renewal Fees in Massachusetts?


At the time of writing, Class D and Class M Driver’s Licenses can be renewed for $50 each. A Class DM Driver’s License costs $65 each. If you need a license for less than five years, the renewal fee is prorated based on the duration of your lawful presence in the US. For a License, it is $10 per year, and for a basic Massachusetts ID, it is $5 per year.

That’s It!

Renewing your Massachusetts driver’s license does not have to be stressful. If you follow the guide above, you will be done in no time!

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