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Getting Your Massachusetts Learner’s Permit
Did you know that motor vehicle accidents are the #1 killer of teens in the United States? In a nationwide effort to combat this eye-opening dilemma, many states have initiated a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program in which first-time drivers must reach certain milestones prior to getting their full driver’s license.
One of the first steps on your path to your Massachusetts driver’s license is to obtain your Mass learner’s permit. Below you will find everything you need to know, including detailed information about required documents and some really helpful time savers, such as online practice tests.
If you’re new to Massachusetts and you have a permit from another state, you may transfer your learner's permit by presenting a certified copy of your driving record from your previous state to the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). If you have any additional questions that aren’t covered below, you may contact the RMV at:
- (857) 368-8000 (From area codes 339, 617, 781, 857 or outside of MA).
- (800) 858-3926 (From all MA Area Codes not listed above).
- (877) 768-8833 (For hearing-impaired callers)..
Your certified driving record must:
- Not be more than 30 days old.
- Meet or exceed the amount of hours of classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction required for Massachusetts residents (see below).
- Show that you have had the permit for a minimum of 6 months and that you have maintained an accident- and infraction-free driving record during this time.
NOTE: Massachusetts will not accept a learner's permit from British Columbia, Montana, or Washington State.
As part of the GDL program for Massachusetts, the RMV has created different requirements for obtaining a Mass learners permit depending on age:
Ages 16 - 18
If you’re at least 16 years old and under 18 years old, here are the documents you’ll need in order to get your learner’s permit:
- A Class D, M, or D/M License and ID Card Application (Form T21042) with parental consent.
- Proof of birth date (e.g. original birth certificate, adoption records, certified high school/grade school transcript).
- Proof of Social Security number (e.g. Social Security card, Social Security award letter, MA ID card record).
Age 18 or Older
If you’re 18 years old or older, here are the documents you’ll need:
- A Class D, M, or D/M License and ID Card Application (Form T21042).
- Proof of:
- Birth date (e.g. original birth certificate, adoption records, certified high school/grade school transcript).
- Social Security number (e.g. Social Security card, Social Security award letter, MA ID card record).
- Signature (e.g. passport, Selective Service card, lease or loan contract with name and signature).
- Massachusetts residency (e.g. bank statement, utility bill, cancelled personal check).
For more information, please see this list of acceptable documents.
When you have in hand all the required documents mentioned above, it’s time to prepare for your knowledge/permit test at your local RMV office. This test is computer-based and will be administered on automated testing stations featuring easy-to-use video screen kiosks. If you have a disability and are unable to use the kiosk, please bring medical documentation of your disability and ask to speak to a branch manager.
The test will consist of 25 questions based on information about Massachusetts traffic laws, road signs, and safe driving techniques found in the MA Driver’s Manual.
- You will have 25 minutes to complete the permit test.
- You’ll need to answer 18 questions correctly to pass.
- You need to pay the $30 fee.
As part of the GDL requirements, you will need to:
- Complete at least 40 hours of supervised practice driving time with a licensed driver 21 years old or older.
- This driver must have a minimum of 1 year driving experience.
- If you have completed a driver skills development program, you only need to log 30 hours of practice driving are required.
- Log your hours on a Supervised Driving Log.
Your parent or guardian must also complete 2 hours of instruction as part of your Driver’s Ed and training requirements. See our page on Teen Licensing in MA for details.
A Massachusetts learner’s permit is valid for 2 years. With your permit, you’re allowed to drive on public roads, but there are a few restrictions:
- You may only operate a passenger car.
- You must carry your learner's permit at all times until you get your junior operator's license or a full driver's license.
- You must always be accompanied by a licensed driver who sits in the passenger seat next to you. This person must be at least 21 years old, have a valid license, and have at least 1 year of driving experience.
- If you are under 18 years old, you are not allowed to drive between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. unless accompanied by a licensed parent or legal guardian in the front seat next to you.
- If you leave Massachusetts, the state you enter must allow teens with out-of-state learner's permits to operate a vehicle.
You may obtain a duplicate Class D learner's permit if any of the following applies:
- You lost or unintentionally destroyed your current Class D permit.
- You changed your name or address.
- You changed your gender.
In order to get your duplicate, you must bring the required documents mentioned above and pay the $15 fee at the RMV.
Once you have your Massachusetts learner’s permit, it’s time to experience what life is like on the open road. Your next step in the GDL is to complete an approved Driver’s Ed course so you can get your junior operator’s license (JOL). For more information, please refer to our Massachusetts Teen Driver’s License page.
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